Para Sport Awards
The PARA SPORT Awards are awards organised by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and celebrate those whose efforts have contributed to strengthening the impact of Para sports worldwide. In addition to awards for summer and winter sport athletes, there are categories for coaches, IPC members, and volunteers.
How are individuals/organisations nominated?
Nominations for all the PARA SPORT Awards may be submitted by IPC Members, members of the Governing Board, and the IPC Athletes’ Council, with a limit of one entry per award.
Publicised at the relevant time, the IPC sends an invitational letter and a nomination form to all IPC Members, including the timelines and criteria. Except for the Citi Volunteer Award, the Governing Board then votes to determine the winners of the PARA SPORT Awards from all the nominations received.
The Citi Volunteer Award is the only PARA SPORT Award that is voted for by the public. Nominations can be submitted for those who have given up their own time to support the Paralympic Movement, such as a volunteer, classifier, technical official, event support, or IPC member support. The shortlist is selected by the Governing Board and the winner is then decided by a public online vote.
Where appropriate, for any of the PARA SPORT Awards the President may decide to appoint a Selection Committee to evaluate the nominations received and make recommendations to the Governing Board for approval.
You can find the award categories here.
PARA SPORTS Awards 2023
The winners of the 2023 PARA SPORT Awards were presented at a ceremony in Manama, Bahrain on 27 September 2023. The award ceremony was held alongside the IPC’s General Assembly and Conference, which took place between 27 and 29 September in Bahrain.
BEST FEMALE SUMMER SPORTS
Nicole Murray (NZL): Named Best Female Summer Sports athlete after winning five medals at the Para cycling world championships. Having never competed in a road race before, she captured a silver and a bronze in the highly competitive C5 classification at the 2022 Para Cycling Road World Championships. She then went on to become a double world champion at the Track World Championships.
BEST MALE SUMMER SPORTS
Simone Barlaam (ita) Italian Para swimmer named Best Male Summer Sports athlete for his incredible 2022 season, during which he set his tenth career world record. He claimed six gold medals at the Madeira 2022 World Para Swimming Championships for a career total of 13 world championship golds. He set four world records and two European records in the process.
BEST FEMALE WINTER SPORTS
Oksana Masters (USA): Nordic skier and the most decorated US winter Paralympian of all time in 2022. She won medals in all seven of her events at the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games and became the first Para athlete from the USA to earn seven medals at one Paralympic Games.
BEST MALE WINTER SPORTS
Declan Farmer (USA): Named Best Male Winter Sports athlete after helping lead the U.S. Para ice hockey team during Beijing 2022 to their fourth consecutive gold medal. In his third Paralympic Games appearance, he had a tournament leading 18 points, including three in the final, setting the U.S. records for the most points and most assists in any single Paralympic Winter Games.
RISING STAR AWARD
Johannes Aigner and guide Matteo Fleischmann (AUT): Aged 16 Para alpine skier Aigner shot to stardom in the 2022 season, capturing five medals, including two gold medals, in his Paralympic debut at Beijing 2022. He also took four medals across four different events at the World Para Snow Sports Championships in 2022 and 2023. At the Para-Ski World Cup 2022/23 he had 16 wins in 16 World Cup starts.
U.S. Para ice hockey team (USA): The U.S. Para ice hockey team continued their dominance at the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games, winning a fifth Paralympic title to remain the sport’s most decorated team in Paralympic history. The U.S.A were the only undefeated team at the Paralympic tournament with a 4-0 record, including a 5-0 shutout against Canada in the final at Beijing’s National Indoor Stadium.
CITI COMMUNITY IMPACT AWARD
Korea Paralympic Committee (KOR): won the Citi Community Impact Award for organising the Dream Paralympic Project, which aims to promote awareness of Para sports among elementary and middle school students. The project, which was launched in 2019, a year after the Republic of Korea hosted the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games, offers a unique opportunity for students attending schools near the Icheon National Training Center to learn and try Para sports. The project is dedicated to engaging 2,400 students (per year), providing opportunities for all students to participate regardless of their abilities.
CITI VOLUNTEER AWARD
Rebecca Foulsham (NZL): a classifier from New Zealand, won a global online vote for the Citi Volunteer Award. Over three decades she has classified athletes at various levels of competition, from national to regional to international. She has been a key contributor to Para sport development in New Zealand across multiple sports during this time, and internationally she helps develop and update classification rules and educates other classifiers.
Veronika Aigner (AUT) and her sister and guide Elisabeth Aigner: The pair topped the podium at both the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games and the World Championships. In her Paralympic debut at Beijing 2022, Veronika won the giant slalom VI and the slalom VI competitions at Yanqing National Alpine Skiing Centre. She continued her impressive run at the World Para Snow Sports Championships 2023 in Espot, Spain, topping the podium in two events.
Riccardo Vernole (ITA): Para swimming coach won the Best Coach Award after leading Italy to a sensational 2022 season, during which the team topped the medals table for the second consecutive Para Swimming World Championships. Vernole, who is the most successful coach in Italian Paralympic swimming history, guided his swimmers to 64 medals at the Madeira 2022 World Para Swimming Championships, in Portugal.
Paralympic Sport Awards 2021
The awards were presented online on 16 September 2021, to the following athletes:
Diede de Groot (NED): Took the Tokyo 2020 women's singles and doubles titles without dropping a set in either competition. She became the first Wheelchair Tennis player to complete the calendar Golden Slam (winning all four Grand Slam titles and the Paralympic gold medal).
Marcel Hug (SUI): Made a gold sweep in all the four events - 800m, 1,500m, 5,000m, and the marathon - in the highly competitive T54 Wheelchair Racing class. The ‘Silver Bullet’ in the process also set a new World record in the 1,500m and a Paralympic record in the 5,000m heats.
BEST MALE DEBUT
Adam Peska (CZE): Won Boccia gold in the final of individual BC3 at Tokyo 2020. He managed to win all his matches and claimed gold with a tiebreaker against Greek legend Gregorios Polychronidis.
BEST FEMALE DEBUT
Avani Lekhara (IND): Became the first ever female Paralympic gold medallist from India. The 19-year-old broke the Paralympic record and equalled the World record in the women's 10m SH1 air rifle standing final. She also won bronze in the women's 50m SH1 air rifle standing event to become the first Indian female to win two medals in the Paralympics. It was also India’s first Paralympic medal in shooting.
Great Britain's wheelchair rugby team: The British team's gold medal win was historic in many ways: first Wheelchair Rugby gold for GB at a World or Paralympic level; first European team to make the gold medal match; first Paralympic gold for GB in a team sport; and Kylie Grimes became the first woman to win Paralympic gold in the history of the sport.
Dr Anja Hirschmueller (GER): Was the lead medical official for the German team looking after a team of eight medical directors and 19 physios. Her most notable contribution to the Games was that she helped save the life of Belgian tennis player Joachim Gerard – she provided his initial medical response following the player’s cardiac arrest in the Paralympic Village.
bp COURAGE AWARD
Viktoriya Potapova (RPC): Was diagnosed with a malignant tumour of the eye and by the age of 10 she had lost her vision. Her life changed when she took up judo and she was able to compete at three Paralympic Games from 2004-2012, taking bronze each time.
However, in 2017 Potapova was diagnosed with a very rare form of cancer. She underwent two operations, where they removed the upper jaw, part of the bones of the nose, part of her eye socket and all affected soft tissues. Not only did she beat cancer again, but she used it as the motivation to get to another Paralympics, taking bronze once again in Tokyo.
Winners from the earlier Para Sport Awards, dating back to the first edition in 2005, can be found in this document.