by Gary Anderson
April 2, 2014 (ISN) – Russia’s Roman Petushkov heads a list of five athletes nominated for the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Best Male Athlete of the Sochi 2014 Paralympics after claiming an impressive six gold medals at his home Games last month.
Declan Farmer and Evan Strong of the United States, Canadian Brian McKeever and Austria’s Markus Salcher complete the shortlist of athletes up for the award.
The IPC has decided to split its traditional Athlete of the Month poll into three separate categories for March in recognition of performances at Sochi 2014.
Candidates for the Best Female Athlete and Best Team at Sochi 2014 will be announced in due course.
A one-week voting period will be dedicated to each category on the IPC’s website.
The male prize is up for grabs first and it is no surprise that Petushkov has made the shortlist after a stunning performance last month.
The 36-year-old was the biggest individual medal winner at the Paralympics bagging six golds in the 7.5 kilometre, 12.5km and 15km biathlon sitting races along with top spots in the 1km sprint and 15km cross-country sitting events as well as the 4×2.5km open relay.
Sixteen-year-old Farmer was an instrumental part of the United States’ run to ice sledge hockey gold in Sochi bagging three goals and two assists, highlighted by a five-minute brace against great rivals Canada in the semi-final match.
The irrepressible McKeever demonstrated why he is considered among the greats of the Winter Paralympics by adding three more gold medals to bring his overall collection to 10.
The visually impaired cross-country skier won all of his individual events including the 1km sprint, 10km and 20km distances.
Moving to the slopes, Salcher came out on top of his individual duel with compatriot Matthias Lanzinger after winning the men’s downhill and super-G standing events.
He also finished with a bronze medal in the giant slalom standing competition.
Snowboarder Strong created history by becoming the first man to win Paralympic gold as the sport made its debut in Sochi, leading home an all-American podium ahead of Mike Shea and Keith Gabel.
The nominations have been compiled from submissions by National Paralympic Committees and International Federations.
The public has until 11am GMT on April 9 to choose their favorite athlete in the male category.