Japanese Wheelchair Tennis Player Shingo Kunieda has been voted by the public as the International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) ‘Athlete of the Month’ for December 2010.
The world number one player won the poll after claiming gold last month in both the men’s singles and doubles events at the Guangzhou 2010 Asian Para Games in China.
Kunieda started his Wheelchair Tennis career aged 11 and joined the international tour circuit at 17 years old. Eight years later aged 25 he became Japan’s first professional Wheelchair Tennis player and won single’s gold at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games as well double’s gold at the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games.
In the men’s doubles in Guangzhou he and teammate Satoshi Saida beat Korea 6-0, 6-2 to win gold. In an all Japanese single’s final Kunieda beat Saida 6-3, 6-3 to pick-up his second gold of the Games.
To be voted the IPC’s ‘Athlete of the Month’ Shingo Kunieda beat off competition from four other athletes, who also participated at the Guangzhou 2010 Para Asian Games. These were:
Kumudu Dissanayake Mudiyanselage from Sri Lanka, who set two consecutive world records in the Women’s T45 semi-finals and finals.
Iranian powerlifter Siamand Rahman, who claimed gold in the Men's +100kg competition and set a new world record pushing 287.5kg.
Chinese swimmer Zhi Guo, who topped the individual medal tally by winning four gold medals and one silver medal.
Korean archers Hee Sook Ko, Ranssok Kim and Hwa Sook Lee, who claimed gold and a new world record in the Team Recurve Open Event.
Each month the public is asked to vote for the IPC’s ‘Athlete of the Month’ from a shortlist of five candidates via www.facebook.com/ParalympicSport.TV
Previous winners in 2010 are as follows:
January: Alexi Salamone, Ice Sledge Hockey
February: Mariann Marthinsen, Cross-Country Skiing
March: Canadian Wheelchair Curling Team
April: Sinisa Vidic, Shooting
May: Katrin Green, Athletics
June: Padraic Moran, Boccia
July: Chinese Women's Sitting Volleyball Team
August: Daniel Dias, Swimming
September: US Wheelchair Rugby Team
October: Katrina Hart, Athletics
November: Anna Schaffelhuber, Alpine Skiing