International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Sir Philip Craven has sent his congratulations to German skier Verena Bentele after she picked up the Disability Award at Monday’s spectacular 2011 Laureus World Sports Awards.
The 28 year old visually impaired skier picked up five gold medals at the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games and beat off stiff competition to pick up the prestigious award.
Sir Philip Craven said: “Congratulations must go to Verena on this fantastic achievement. To win five gold medals at a Paralympic Games is major achievement, but so is recognition from your peers.
“The Laureus Awards are voted for by the ultimate sports jury made up of 46 of the greatest sportsmen and sportswomen of all time, and Verena should be delighted that some of the biggest names in world sport have judged her the winner.
“I’d also like to congratulate the other shortlisted athletes. This year the standard was extremely high which makes me particularly proud as it underlines the growing strength of Paralympic Sport.”
The Laureus World Sports Awards, which recognize sporting achievement, are the premier honours on the international sporting calendar and were held at the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi.
Also shortlisted alongside Bentele for the award were:
• Matt Cowdrey (Australia) – winner of six gold and one silver medal at the IPC Swimming World Championships.
• Daniel Dias (Brazil) – broke five World records and won eight titles at the same Championships as Cowdrey
• Jakub Krako (Slovakia) – winner of three Alpine Skiing gold medals at the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Games
• Ester Vergeer (the Netherlands) – unbeaten in over 400 wheelchair tennis matches dating back eight years
• Lauren Woolstencroft (Canada) – on home soil won five gold medals at last year's Winter Paralympics.