Two different female winter athletes have been announced as finalists in the Best Paralympic Games Debut Category for the International Paralympic Committee's (IPC) 2011 Paralympic Sport Awards, proudly partnered by the IPC's International Partner Allianz.
The award will be presented by the IPC to the athlete that stood out the most in his or her first-ever Paralympic Games in Vancouver in 2010.
The two female Finalists for the award include:
- Oleksandra Kononova: At the young age of 19, the Ukrainian winter athlete put on a stellar performance at Vancouver 2010, winning gold in the 12.5km Standing Biathlon and golds in the 5km and Sprint Classic Cross-Country Skiing events. She also picked up a silver in the 3x2.5km Cross-Country Skiing race. Kononova, whose right hand was infected with osteomyelitis as an infant, now has a right hand that is shorter than her left one.
- Maria Iovleva: After competing in winter sports since the age of 9, Iovleva won gold in the 10km Biathlon and silver in the 2.4km Pursuit, in addition to being a member of the gold-medal winning women's Cross-Country Relay team. She will now look to build off that performance in her home Games at Sochi 2014.
The award winner will be announced during a special ceremony held in conjunction with the 2011 IPC General Assembly in Beijing, China, in December.
photos Janos Schmidt