The best Asian male and female athletes with impairments were honoured for their outstanding performances and achievements in their respective fields of sport in an awards ceremony in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, this week (2 December).
The ceremony was held in conjunction with the Asian Paralympic Committee (APC) General Assembly, Conference and Elections at the Yas Viceroy Hotel in Abu Dhabi. For 2014, new award categories were introduced, inspired by the exceptional achievements of the athletes and contingents at October’s Asian Para Games in Incheon, South Korea.
Para-swimmer Lin Furong of China, the most decorated athlete at the 2014 Asian Para Games, won the Best Male Athlete award. The 22-year-old won six gold medals in Incheon, breaking three Asian and three Games records.
Iran’s Incheon 2014 Asian Para Games double gold medallist Sareh Javanmardidodmani was awarded Best Female Athlete. She won the women’s 10m and mixed 50m air pistol SH1 events in Incheon breaking two world records on her way to victory. She made history earlier in 2014 by becoming the first ever Iranian woman to claim a world title at the IPC Shooting World Championships in Suhl, Germany.
Best Female Youth Athlete was presented to Japan’s Miki Kamada. The 17-year-old para-swimmer made waves at the Asian Youth Para Games 2013 with one silver and three gold medals and followed it up with two bronze medals at the Incheon 2014 Asian Para Games.
China’s Wang Hao was awarded the trophy for Best Male Youth Athlete. Wang Hao, who started para-athletics training five years ago at the age of 14, blew away the competition to take three gold medals at the 2013 Asian Youth Para Games. A repeat performance won him another three top-of-the-podium finishes at the Incheon 2014 Asian Para Games.
The Best Team Sports Performance Female recipient was China and the Best Team Sports Performance Male was won by Iran.
The APC Special Recognition Award was established to honour nations that have shown tremendous commitment in developing their athletes and great improvement in their performance, especially from the previous 2010 Asian Para Games in Guangzhou, China. The recipients were Uzbekistan and South Korea.
Uzbekistan showed a marked improvement by placing fifth in Incheon with 31 medals, including 22 gold. This compared to just one gold medal in 2010 and an 18th place finish.
In Guangzhou four years ago, South Korea took home 27 gold medals. On home ground, at the Incheon 2014 Games, the athletes smashed their own record, amassing 72 gold medals bringing their total to 211.