PARA SPORTS AWARDS

The Para Sport Awards consist of various awards that, among other things:

  • recognise outstanding performances from the respective season, across both summer and winter sports;
  • celebrate the achievements and work of the wider Paralympic Movement; and
  • honour legendary Paralympians, coaches and teams.

How are individuals/organisations nominated?

With the exception of Sporting Moment of the Year and Volunteer of the Year, nominations for the Para Sport Awards may be submitted by IPC Members, members of the Governing Board and Athletes’ Council, with a limit of one entry per award. The IPC will send an invitational letter and a nomination form to all IPC Members, including the timelines and criteria. The Governing Board will vote to determine the winners of these Para Sport Awards from all nominations received.

For Sporting Moment of the Year and Volunteer of the Year, nominations are open to anyone, and this will be publicised at the relevant time. The Governing Board will select a shortlist of three moments for each award. The winner will then be 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.

Paralympic Sport Awards 2021

The awards were presented online on 16 September 2021, to the following athletes:

BEST FEMALE

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).

BEST MALE

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.

BEST TEAM

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.

BEST OFFICIAL

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.
 

Paralympic Sport Awards 2019

The awards were presented on 25 October 2019 in Bonn, Germany to the following athletes:

BEST FEMALE

Henrieta Farkasova (SVK): Won four gold medals and one silver in PyeongChang together with guide Natalia Subrtova to finish as the most decorated athlete of the Games and helped her country top the alpine skiing medals table.

BEST MALE

Benjamin Daviet (FRA): Won three gold and two silver medals in Nordic skiing. The two-time Paralympian topped the podium in short and middle-distance biathlon, as well as the 4x2.5km cross-country relay. His silvers came in the long-distance biathlon and cross-country skiing events.

BEST DEBUT

Giacomo Bertagnolli (ITA): Together with guide Fabrizio Casal, won four medals in PyeongChang. The pair won slalom and giant slalom gold, silver in super G and bronze in downhill to help Italy to a best finish in the medals table for 12 years.

BEST TEAM

China's wheelchair curling: Made history by winning their country’s first Paralympic Winter Games title with a thrilling 6-5 final victory over Norway.  On the way to gold, the Beijing 2022 hosts defeated defending champions Canada in the semi-finals. 

BEST OFFICIAL

Len Apendaile (CAN): Following the Sochi 2014 Games, the Canadian worked tirelessly with the PyeongChang 2018 Organising Committee to educate them on best practices. During the Games he acted as race director for both biathlon and cross-country skiing and liaised closely with his Olympic counterparts.

bp COURAGE AWARD

Elaheh Gholi Fallah (IRI): Became the first Iranian female to qualify for a Paralympic Winter Games. Fallah, who lost her eyesight aged five due to a brain tumour, finished 11th in the cross-country sprint in PyeongChang. In Iran she acts as a mentor encouraging others to take up winter sports. 
 

Paralympic Sport Awards 2017

The awards were presented on 7 September 2017 in Abu Dhabi, UAE, to the following athletes:

BEST FEMALE

Omara Durand (CUB): The world’s fastest female Paralympian lived up to expectations at Rio 2016. The Cuban sprinter won a trio of Paralympic gold medals, smashing her own world records in the 100m and 400m T12 – both that she set at the 2015 World Championships. She even set a Paralympic record of 23.05 in the 200m T12.

BEST MALE

Siamand Rahman (IRI): The world’s strongest Paralympian broke his own world record by lifting 310kg – a moment many were waiting to happen in Rio. It was Rahman’s second consecutive Paralympic title.

BEST MALE DEBUT

Laurens Devos (BEL): The Belgian became the youngest male Paralympic table tennis champion at 16 years old after winning gold in the men’s singles class 9. He did not drop a single set in the finals.

BEST FEMALE DEBUT

Beatrice Vio (ITA): Italian wheelchair fencer took the Paralympic piste at only 19 years old. Already entering Rio 2016 with hype as a young world champion, Vio captured gold in the women’s individual foil category B. She was the only quadruple-amputee in international wheelchair fencing and also led the Italian team to a bronze medal in the team foil.

BEST TEAM

Turkey's women's goalball: In their first appearance at a Paralympic Games, Turkey upset favourites and three-time Paralympic silver medallists China 4-1 to claim their maiden Paralympic title.

BEST OFFICIAL

Kate McLoughlin (AUS): Her leadership and support for the 177 athletes and 150 officials leading up to and during Rio 2016 helped lead Australia to fourth place on the medal tally in Rio.
 

Paralympic Sport Awards 2015

The awards were presented on 14 November in Mexico City, Mexico, to the following athletes:

BEST FEMALE

Anna Schaffelhuber (GER) won Best Female after she became only the second female athlete at a Paralympic Winter Games to win gold in all five alpine skiing events.

BEST MALE

Roman Petushkov (RUS) became the first athlete in history to win six gold medals (four biathlon races and two mixed relay cross-country events) at a single Paralympic Winter Games.

BEST GAMES DEBUT

Alexey Bugaev (RUS) made a huge impact in his first Games. At 16 years old, Bugaev won a medal in all five alpine skiing standing events: gold in the super combined and slalom events, silver in the downhill and giant slalom and bronze in the super-G.

BEST TEAM

Team USA became the first ice sledge hockey team to win back-to-back Paralympic titles in Vancouver and Sochi.

BEST OFFICIAL

Hans Peter Neeser (SUI) served as the IPC Race Director for cross country skiing and biathlon during Sochi 2014. He was instrumental in pioneering and developing a close working relationship with broadcast that led to unprecedented close co-operation and co-ordination of schedule and venue planning.

BP COURAGE AWARD

Bibian Mentel-Spee (NED) won the BP Courage Award in recognition of her efforts to get snowboard into the Paralympic programme. After successfully campaigning to get the sport into Sochi 2014, the Dutch athlete won Paralympic gold to cap a memorable season that also saw her win seven World Cup events.
 

Paralympic Sport Awards 2013

The 2013 awards were presented on 23 November in Athens, Greece, to the following athletes:

BEST FEMALE

Esther Vergeer (NED) finished one of Paralympic sport’s most successful ever careers with a fourth wheelchair tennis singles title and gold in the doubles.

BEST MALE

David Weir (GBR) competed on eight days and was unbeatable winning four golds in as many events in what is widely regarded as one of Paralympic sport’s most competitive classes.

BEST FEMALE DEBUT

Marlou Van Rhijn (NED) followed up winning 100m and 200m European titles in June, by claiming 100m silver and 200m gold at the Paralympics. She also set new world records for both sprints in London.

BEST MALE DEBUT

Alex Zanardi (ITA), the former Formula 1 driver won two individual handcycling gold medals at Brand Hatch as well as team silver.

BEST TEAM

Brazil Football 5-a-side, won their third successive gold in this event without even conceding a goal.

BEST OFFICIAL

Sylvia Sekowska (GER), Head Table Official for wheelchair rugby who, in the lead-up to the Games developed and delivered a comprehensive training project that enabled a pool of qualified National Technical Officials from the host country to be selected for the Games.
 

Paralympic Sport Awards 2011

BEST MALE

The German Alpine Skiier Gerd Schoenfelder took home four golds and one silver in his sixth and final Paralympic Games in Vancouver. In a glittering career he won 22 Paralympic medals, including 16 golds.

BEST FEMALE

Verena Bentele, a German visually impaired Nordic Skier, won five gold medals in as many races at the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games. She stood atop the podium in Biathlon (3km Pursuit, 12.5km Pursuit) and Cross-Country Skiing (15km Freestyle, 5km Classic Style, Sprint Classic Style), taking her total Paralympic Games medal count to 16, including an impressive 12 golds.

In 2011 she retired as the most successful Paralympic biathlete ever.

BEST TEAM

Despite losing 2-0 to USA in the gold medal match, Japan's Ice Sledge Hockey Team picked up an unlikely silver medal in Ice Sledge Hockey. The team caused a huge upset in the semi-finals beating hosts and competition favourites Canada 3-1.

BEST DEBUT

Aged 19 at the time of the Vancouver Games, Ukranian Oleksandra Kononova won three gold medals and one silver in Biathlon and Cross Country Skiing events.

BEST OFFICIAL

As the IPC Technical Delegate for Cross Country Skiing and an assistant for Biathlon, Christian Egli helped develop the sit-ski sprint course for the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games and contributed to the newly created IPC Nordic Skiing points system.

 

Paralympic Sport Awards 2009

BEST MALE

Australian Swimmer Matthew Cowdery (S9) won a total of eight Paralympic medals at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games. He won four individual gold medals and five overall each in world record times as well as three silver medals. His performances far surpassed his expectations and he particularly enjoyed the 50m freestyle and the 4x100m medley relay.

BEST FEMALE

In her final Paralympic Games, Canada's Chantal Petitclerc (T54) won five gold medals covering distances from 100m to 1,500m despite facing a deep and talented field featuring many emerging Paralympic stars. Once again she rewrote the record book breaking three world and four Paralympic records. Petitclerc retired having won an impressive 21 Paralympic medals, including 14 gold, during a glittering career.

BEST TEAM

Australia's Men's Wheelchair Basketball Team, called the Rollers, upset the odds in Beijing beating reigning Paralympic and World Champions Canada in the gold medal match 72-60.

BEST DEBUT

New Zealand's Sophie Pascoe (S10) made an outstanding debut at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games winning three gold and one silver medal in Swimming events. Aged just 15 she was the youngest New Zealand athlete ever to win a medal at a Paralympics.

BEST OFFICIAL

As China's Chef-de-Mission at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games, Wang Xinxian’s contributions were outstanding. He not only supported the preparations of the Beijing Games with his expertise in finances and human resources, he also ensured the participation of Chinese Paralympic athletes in all 20 Paralympic sports.

 

Paralympic Sport Awards 2007

BEST MALE

Canada's Nordic skier Brian McKeever (B3) won two gold, one silver and one bronze medal at the Torino Paralympic Games, bringing his career total of Paralympic medals to seven.

BEST FEMALE

Canadian Alpine Skier Lauren Woolstencroft (LW1-9) was one of the stars at the Torino 2006 Paralympic Winter Games, winning one gold and one silver medal. She had already won a total of six Paralympic medals in her young career, including three golds. 

BEST TEAM

The Canadian Ice Sledge Hockey Team struck gold at the Torino 2006 Paralympic Games, the country's first gold in the sport, with a 3-0 Final victory over Norway. The gold medal completed the Paralympic medal set for Canada in this sport, following bronze in Lillehammer 1994 and silver in Nagano 1998. In total, four veteran athletes of the Torino team participated on each of these teams.

BEST DEBUT

Swiss athlete Thomas Pfyl (LW 9-2) made an outstanding debut at the Tornio 2006 Paralympic Winter Games claiming one gold and one silver medal in the Alpine Skiing events. In addition, he topped the overall European Cup ranking in 2005/2006 as well as the World Cup ranking in 2007.

BEST OFFICIAL

At the Torino 2006 Paralympic Games, Karl Quade of Germany once again did an excellent job as Chef de Mission of the German Paralympic Team, adding another item to his long lists of outstanding contributions to the Paralympic Movement.

 

Paralympic Sport Awards 2005

BEST MALE

Brazilian swimmer Clodoaldo Silva (S4) was in superb form at the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games winning six gold medals and a silver. He also set four world and five Paralympic records. During the Brazilian trials for the Games he broke all his personal bests and established two new world records.

BEST FEMALE

Japan's Mayumi Narita (SB3/SM4/S4) performances at the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games were outstanding, with her emerging as the most decorated athlete of the Paralympics. Narita won seven gold medals and a bronze in the swimming pool, and also set six world and seven Paralympic records.

BEST TEAM

Canada’s Men’s Wheelchair Basketball Team were a dominant force at the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games, completing an undefeated march to win the gold medal, defending their golden performance in Sydney 2000. The repeat Paralympic competition was even more convincing, as the Canadian team outscored their competition by an average of 24 points per game and were never really threatened throughout the tournament.

BEST DEBUT

Hong Kong's Wheelchair Fencer Chui Lee Yu made an impressive debut at the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games as her excellent performance not only won her two gold medals in individual events but also helped her team to capture two gold medals.

BEST OFFICIAL

At the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games Jonquil Solt of Great Britain, Chairperson of the International Paralympic Equestrian Committee (IPEC), proved to be a calm but persistent and very enthusiastic leader who exercised sound judgement and compassion, demonstrated at various occasions. She succeeded in resolving difficult situations in an exceptional manner, admired by athletes, officials and members: