“It’s amazing to qualify for another Paralympics and to receive the publicity. Will these be my last Paralympics? You’ll have to ask my wife.”
Italy’s Florian Planker and South Korea’s Seung-Hwan Jung have been added to the IPC Ice Sledge Hockey’s Ones to Watch list for the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games following their performances at the IPC Ice Sledge Hockey Qualification Tournament last week.
The two star forwards are the final selections for the Sochi 2014 Ones to Watch initiative, which will showcase the top winter athletes around the world who have won medals on the international stage and who hold a strong presence in the media.
Jung and Planker will join the six other ice sledge hockey players who have already been named Ones to Watch: Canada’s Greg Westlake and Brad Bowden, USA’s Steve Cash and Josh Pauls, Russia’s Dmitry Lisov and Norway’s Rolf Pedersen.
At the Qualification Tournament in Torino, Italy, Planker and Jung finished as the top two scorers.
Jung led South Korea to gold in a thrilling shoot-out victory, and during the tournament he racked up eight goals, four assists and a shot percentage of 38 per cent.
The forward, who has been a single-leg amputee since the age of five, is arguably the fastest player in the world on ice according to many of his opponents heading into his second Paralympics.
“My one weakness is that physically I’m smaller than most players, so what I lack in size I try to make up for in speed and use it as my biggest advantage,” Jung said.
“I’m glad to be recognised internationally by the IPC and cannot wait to see what Sochi 2014 brings.”
Planker helped Italy grab silver in Torino with eight goals – including four game-winners – and five assists, and was also his team’s leading scorer at the last two World Championships.
At 36, Planker will be entering his fifth Paralympics. Italy’s veteran forward overcame a motorcycle accident at age 17 that resulted in the amputation of his left leg above the knee. But that did not stop him from becoming involved in elite sport.
He represented Italy in alpine skiing at three Paralympic Winter Games from 1998-2006, with his best result, a bronze medal, coming in the super-G competition at the Salt Lake City 2002 Games. Planker then switched over to ice sledge hockey for Torino 2006 and Vancouver 2010.
“It’s amazing to qualify for another Paralympics and to receive the publicity,” Planker said. “Will these be my last Paralympics? You’ll have to ask my wife.”
A number of activities will be implemented on Paralympic.org and the IPC’s social media outlets in a concerted effort to make Planker, Jung and the other ice sledge hockey players household names for Sochi 2014.
Across social media, fans are encouraged to use the #One2Watch hashtag when discussing these athletes and their high-level achievements.
The IPC’s Ones to Watch campaign was originally launched in the lead-up to London 2012, when a new section was included within Paralympic.org, entitled Ones to Watch.
The series of pages act as an information hub and an essential media resource, bringing together details of the athletes’ achievements, biographies, images and social media feeds, in addition to the latest news, features and videos about the athletes.