2011 Paralympic Sport Awards Shortlists

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) will be presenting the 2011 Paralympic Sport Awards in the course of the IPC General Assembly to be held in Beijing, China, in December this year. These awards are conferred on top Paralympic athletes and officials who have contributed to the last Paralympic Games, in this case to the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Games. The Paralympic Sport Awards categories are as follows: Best Male Athlete, Best Female Athlete, Best Paralympic Games Debut, Best Team Performance, and Exemplary Paralympic Games Official. Recently the shortlists for the Best Male and Best Female Athlete awards were announced.

Finalists for the Best Male Athlete award are as follows:

  • Gerd Schoenfelder
  • Irek Zaripov
  • Jakub Krako
  • Brian McKeever
  • Adam Hall

Gerd Schoenfelder is an alpine skier from Germany who brought home five medals from Vancouver. He boasts a total of 22 Paralympic Games medals, of which 16 are gold. At the age of 41, Shoenfelder announced his plans to retire after great success at the 2011 IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships in Italy.

Irek Zaripov is a Russian cross-country skier and biathlete. The loss of both his legs following a car accident in 2000 did not dampen his spirits. His participation in the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Games saw him winning four gold medals and one silver medal.

Jakub Krako from Slovakia is a visually impaired alpine skier. He won gold in the slalom, giant slalom and Super G events at Vancouver, as well as silver for the Super Combined. He also enjoyed taking home the 2011 Slalom World Cup.

Brian McKeever is a biathlete and cross-country skier from Canada. He has been skiing since the age of three, and his vision began fading at the age of 19. McKeever claimed three gold medals in cross-country skiing at Vancouver. In 2007 he became Canada’s first disabled athlete to participate in an able-bodied event. McKeever has already been a recipient of the Paralympic Sport Awards Best Male Athlete award in 2007.

Adam Hall from New Zealand was born with spina bifida. He was able to win a gold medal at Vancouver in the Alpine Skiing Slalom Standing event, after recovering from a fall in his second run.

Finalists for the Best Female Athlete award are as follows:

  • Verena Bentele
  • Lauren Woolstencroft
  • Vasilyeva Liubov
  • Henrieta Farkasova
  • Alana Nichols

Verena Bentele is a visually impared biathlete and cross-country skier from Germany. She won five gold medals at Vancouver, bringing her total Winter Games medal wins to 16. She was the recipient of the 2011 Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability Award.

Lauren Woolstencroft is a Canadian alpine skier who was born without legs below the knee, as well as no left arm below the elbow. Skiing since four years of age and skiing competitively since the age of 14, she won four events at Vancouver. She was a recipient of the 2007 Paralympic Sports Awards Best Female Athlete award in 2007. She has over 50 medals to her name.

Vasilyeva Liubov from Russia is a visually impaired cross-country skier and biathlete. She enjoyed various victories in the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Games, including a gold, two silvers and a bronze. She is also known for taking part in Wheelchair Fencing.

Henrieta Farkasova is a Slovakian alpine skier. She won four alpine skiing medals, three of which were gold, in the recent Vancouver Games.

Alana Nichols of the USA is an alpine skier who also participates in Wheelchair Basketball. At the Vancouver Games she claimed two gold, one silver and one bronze.