PyeongChang 2018 to be largest Paralympic winter games ever hinh anh 1Para ice hockey players compete in an exhibition match at a special ice rink in front of Seoul City Hall in Seoul to promote the PyeongChang Paralympic Winter Games on Feb. 26, 2018. (Photo: Yonhap)

Seoul (VNA) – The 2018 PyeongChang Winter Paralympic Games will be the largest Winter Paralympics in history with the greatest number of athletes’ participation.

According to the PyeongChang Organising Committee for the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games said 570 athletes from 49 countries had registered for the March 9-18 competition as of February 24. The 2014 Sochi Paralympics had previously been the biggest, with 547 athletes from 45 countries.

According to the organising committee, the United States has the highest number of athletes at 68, followed by Canada at 52 and Japan at 38.

Host, the Republic of Korea, will send a record 36 athletes competing in all six sports to the Winter Olympics.

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), which has been granted an exceptional invitation by the International Paralympic Committee, will have two athletes in cross-country skiing. Russia has registered 30 athletes in four sports, but due to the doping scandal, they will compete under the name Neutral Paralympic Athlete (NPA), according to the organising committee.

The PyeongChang Paralympics will also offer the most gold medals in Winter Paralympics history with 80, eight more than that at Sochi 2014.

The opening and closing ceremonies, as well as most snow sports, will be staged in PyeongChang, while alpine skiing events will be contested in Jeongseon, 215km east of Seoul. Gangneung, a coastal city in Gangwon province, will host all ice sports during the Paralympics.

At the PyeongChang Paralympics, 78 gold medals are up for grabs in four snow sports: para alpine skiing, para snowboard, para biathlon and para cross-country skiing. Two ice sports, para ice hockey and wheelchair curling, offer one gold medal each.

On February 26, the DPRK unveiled a list of its three-member delegation to the RoK to talk Pyongyang’s participation in next month’s Paralympics.

Hwang Chung-song, an official at the DPRK's state agency in charge of inter-Korean affairs, will be the chief delegate for working-level talks scheduled for February 27.

The delegation also includes Jong Hyon, a vice chairman of the central committee of the Korean Federation for the Protection of the Disabled (KFPD), and Yun Chol, an official at the DPRK's body for disabled athletes.

The DPRK sent 22 athletes and hundreds of cheer team members and artists to the February 9-25 PyeongChang Winter Olympics. - VNA