Joachim Gerard named December’s Allianz Athlete of the Month

The Belgian upset No. 1 men’s singles player Kunieda in the year-end Masters to land the honour. 21 Jan 2016
Man in wheelchair on a tennis court, showing a trophy to the camera

Belgium’s Joachim Gerard defeated Japan’s legendary Shingo Kunieda twice in four days to become the new 2015 NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters champion.

ⒸNEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters

Wheelchair tennis player Joachim Gerard pulled one of the biggest upsets of 2015. With that, the Belgian has been named the Allianz Athlete of the Month for December, wrapping up the last honour of 2015.

Gerard defeated Japan’s No. 1 Shingo Kunieda 2-6 6-2 7-5 in the early rounds of the NEC Wheelchair Tennis Masters, the International Tennis Federation’s year-end singles championships event. The victory spoiled Kunieda’s 77-matching winnings streak. The two then met in the men’s singles finals, where Gerard won 7-5 2-6 6-3.

The 27-year-old picked up 50 per cent of the public votes. Canadian ice sledge hockey player Tyler McGregor came in second with 25 per cent. Russian Nordic skier Stanislav Chokhlaev was third (16 per cent), followed by British swimmer Bethany Firth (seven per cent) and then French sailor Damien Seguin (two per cent).

The 2015 winners are:

January – Andrew Soule, USA, Nordic skiing

February – Chris Vos, the Netherlands, snowboard

March – Maksym Nikolenko, Ukraine, table tennis

April – Nigel Murray, Great Britain, boccia

May – Martina Caironi, Italy, athletics

June – Eduard Ramonov, Russia, football 7-a-side

July – Siamand Rahman, Iran, powerlifting

August – Trevor Hirschfield, Canada, wheelchair rugby

September – Moran Samuel, Israel, rowing

October – Beatrice Vio, Italy, wheelchair fencing

November – Zahra Nemati, Iran, archery

December – Joachim Gerard, Belgium, wheelchair tennis