February 10, 2104 (ISN) – After a record number of nominations, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has announced the five women that have been shortlisted for the 2014 International Women’s Day Recognition Award which will be announced in just under one month’s time at a special ceremony at the 2014 Sochi Paralympic Winter Games on 8 March.
To create the shortlist stakeholders from within the Paralympic Movement were invited to nominate someone who they felt embodies the spirit of the Paralympics and who inspires women within it. The record number of nominations was then shortlisted by members of the IPC’s Women in Sport Committee, Chairperson Tine Rindum Teilmann, three-time Paralympic champion hand cyclist and former Winter Games medallist in alpine skiing Muffy Davis and Sima Limoochi. The winner will now be voted by the full committee.
The nominees are:
Rima Batalova (RUS) – Won a total of 13 Paralympic and 18 world titles spanning three decades before becoming heavily involved with developing para-sport in Russia at a local and national level. She is Vice President of the Russian Paralympic Committee and a member of the Sochi 2014 Organising Committee.
Jannie Hammershoej (DEN) – A former goalballer, Hammershoej competed at the 1996 Atlanta Games and became involved with the Danish Paralympic Committee before becoming the President of the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) in 2013.
Nadia Harusimana (BDI) – The wheelchair racing coach was responsible for starting the very first sports club for women and girls with impairments in Burundi. As a result the country now has national championships in women’s sitting volleyball. Progressing from volunteer to Deputy Secretary General of the National Paralympic Committee, Harusimana has made a valuable contribution to para-sport in Burundi.
Natalia Partyka (POL) – Nominated as the first International Table Tennis Federation Dreambuilding Ambassador in 2013 and has competed at the last two Olympic and Paralympic Games in table tennis. She has been voted women of the year in Poland and is a staunch advocate of para-table tennis.
Fatemeh Rakhshani (IRI) – The current Chairperson of the Asian Paralympic Committee’s Women in Sport Committee and has a substantial influence on women in para-sport in Iran. Through her athleticism as a para-swimmer, Rakhshani also works to involve communities in physical activity.
Tine Rindum Teilmann said: “We are delighted that once again so many people and organisations came forward to nominate people who they thought had been instrumental in involving women in para-sport.
“The number and quality of nominations shows the sheer number of people, athletes and administrators alike, who truly embody the spirit of inclusivity and equality that characterises the Paralympic Movement.
“Shortlisting the candidates was not an easy task and I wish everyone luck for 8 March. May their great work and example, and of all those nominated, continue”
The United Nations International Women’s Day takes place annually and sees organisations, groups and individuals marking the day with special events to raise awareness of the role of women in society.
Thousands of events occur not just on this day but throughout March to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women. Organisations, governments, charities, educational institutions, women’s groups, corporations and the media celebrate the day.
The 2014 IPC International Women’s Day Recognition Award will be presented by Muffy Davis at a ceremony at Sochi 2014 attended by dignitaries, including the IPC’s President, Sir Philip Craven, on 8 March.