IPC unveils shortlist for 2022 International Women’s Day awards

Candidates named across Leadership, Emerging Leadership and NPC/IF categories 23 Feb 2022
Zahra Nemati
Iranian Para archer Zahra Nemati was among the 2021 winners in the Emerging Leadership category
ⒸMatthias Hangst/Getty Images

The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has released the shortlist for the 2022 International Women’s Day Recognition, with winners to be announced on 8 March’s global celebration of women and gender equality.

Three outstanding female candidates each respectively make up the Leadership and Emerging Leadership category. Three organisations have been shortlisted for the National Paralympic Committee (NPC) and International Federation (IF) category. 

The awards primarily recognise women in the Paralympic Movement who inspire and emulate the Paralympic ideals and serve as positive role models. Following hundreds of nominations, this year the shortlisted women and organisations nominated come from Zimbabwe, Malaysia, Iran, Botswana, Singapore, New Zealand, Canada and Mongolia.

The winners will be decided by the IPC’s Women in Sport Committee, chaired by Rita van Driel, who said: 

“The 2022 International Women’s Day Recognition supports one of the IPC’s key strategic objectives, which is to promote gender balance in leadership positions across the Paralympic Movement.  All of the women and organisations nominated this year made exceptional progress in 2021. What is clear to the Women in Sport Committee from all the Award applications we received this year is that across the Movement are many women bringing disability inclusion to the heart of governments, delivering change to the sporting infrastructure of their country and having an impact for persons with disabilities in their communities.”


This category recognises sustained and consistent leadership over a period of time, advocacy, overall contributions and impact promoting and supporting women in sport. Candidates considered included coaches, current or former athletes, administrators and officials.

Oripa Mubika - Zimbabwe

Oripa Mubika was one of the few female Para sport coaches in Zimbabwe before the country joined the IPC. As Secretary General on NPC Zimbabwe she has facilitated the introduction of sitting volleyball in 2016, increased female representation on the board to 50 per cent, and ensured that at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, NPC Zimbabwe has their first female coach. 

Ras Adiba Radzi – Malaysia

Ras Adiba Radzi is a serving senator in Malaysian Parliament. She has represented Malaysia in Para badminton, shooting and currently President of National Para Shooting Association. With a commitment to inspire and transform the lives of persons with disabilities from within Parliament she is driving change and in 2020 was chosen by their Prime Minister in 2020 to represent Persons With Disability Community.

Professor Fatemeh Rakhshani – Iran

 A two-term vice-president of NPC Iran, Fatemeh Rakhshani increased the number of females in the Iranian delegation at the Paralympic Games from less than five per cent at the London 2012 to 17 percent at the Rio 2016. Through her athleticism as a Para swimmer, Rakhshani also works to involve communities in physical activity.


This category will recognise early-stage career leadership, advocacy, overall contributions and impact promoting and supporting women in sport. Candidates considered included coaches, current and former athletes, administrators and elected officials. 

Malebogo Molefhe - Botswana

Malebogo is a disability and gender rights activist. A former national basketball player, through an initiative called the ALIGHT Project she has been focusing on increasing participation of women and girls with disabilities in programmes and addressing violence towards them. She has been developing wheelchair basketball in Botswana and encouraging participation of people with disabilities in sport and advocacy.

Yip Pin Xiu - Singapore 

A multi-gold medallist across three Paralympics, Pin Xiu has led an era of change for Singapore. An outspoken advocate, Pin Xiu was the first Para athlete elected as a Nominated Member of Parliament and has challenged the government to cultivate inclusive national sport associations. Recognising her impact on the pushing forward the inclusion agenda, in 2021 she was the first recipient of a new national award, the President's Award for Inspiring Achievement.

Holly Robinson - New Zealand

After winning gold in the Women’s Javelin Throw F46 at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, Holly made numerous community appearances, school visits and media requests, while continuing her career as teacher aid at a school catering for children with impairments.  After Tokyo 2020 Holly was awarded the Visa Award when she demonstrated outstanding leadership by making a point of thanking track the officials officiating at track and field events.  


This category recognises the leadership, impact and effective change initiated by a National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) and International Federations (IFs) who promote and support equality and inclusion of women in sport.

Canada Paralympic Committee

NPC Canada and its CEO Karen O’Neill is a driving force of the women in sport movement in the Americas region. Over the last two years Karen has put a huge effort into developing a Women in Sport programme to encourage more women into leadership positions in Paralympic sport. She has maintained the contact and relationship of the women in the group by creating a WhatsApp group and having bi-monthly calls.

Paralympics New Zealand

It is clear Paralympics New Zealand is an equal opportunities employer: their Chief Executive and Board Chair are both female; 57 per cent of their Board and 82% of their staff, 80 per cent of their senior leadership team and 82 per cent of their classifiers are female also. Their Chef and Deputy Chef de Mission for the New Zealand Paralympic Teams for Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022 are all female, while 88% of the 12 medals won at the Tokyo 2020 were won by women.  

Mongolian Paralympic Committee

Under the leadership of Dr Nasanbat Oyunbat, NPC Mongolia has managed to influence more Asian federations to actively engage female coaches, referees and officials. Under her management, she led organisations to develop a nationwide survey to deal with sexual harassment among the female athletes. The results were distributed to government institutions in Mongolia and has led to recommendations to national federations that help protect female athletes. 

The 2021 winners were Kate Caithness of World Curling Federation (Leadership category), Iranian Para archer Zahra Nemati (Emerging Leadership category) and World Para Powerlifting (National Paralympic Committee/International Federation category).