Canadian Paralympians win three of five International Paralympic Sports Awards



    OTTAWA, Oct. 16 /CNW Telbec/ - Canadian Paralympians won three of five
prestigious 2007 Paralympic Sports Awards to be given out by the International
Paralympic Committee (IPC) on November 24 in Seoul, Korea, the Canadian
Paralympic Committee (CPC) announced today.
    The awards, presented following each Paralympic Games, honour the best
athletes at each set of Paralympic Games.
    Cross-country skier Brian McKeever, of Canmore, AB, was named Best Male
Athlete, Alpine skier Lauren Woolstencroft, of Calgary, AB, was recognized as
the Best Female Athlete, and Canada's national ice sledge hockey team won for
Best Team Performance.
    "We congratulate Brian McKeever, Lauren Woolstencroft and the men's ice
sledge hockey team for being recognized by the International Paralympic
Committee for their excellent performances in the highly competitive world of
Paralympic sport. They are among the many Paralympic heroes who are inspiring
Canadians with a physical disability to become involved in sport," said CPC
President Carla Qualtrough.
    McKeever won gold at the Turin 2006 Paralympic Games in the 10km
Freestyle and the 5km Freestyle along with a silver in the 20km Classic in
cross-country skiing and a bronze in the men's 7.5km in biathlon. Classified
as a B3 visually-impaired athlete, McKeever's current goal is to compete at
both the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
    "I don't compete for recognition, but because cross-country is a sport I
love. But it's still really exciting and an honour to be recognized in this
way by the International Paralympic Committee," said McKeever.
    Woolstencroft raced to gold in the Giant Slalom and to silver in the
Super G at the Turin 2006 Paralympic Games. Born without legs below the knees
and her left arm below the elbow, she has been skiing since the age of four.
She started ski racing at age 14 when a friend convinced her to join the
Alberta Disabled Ski Team. She has been a member of Canada's Para-Alpine Ski
Team since 1998.
    "It's an honour to receive this prestigious award, and particularly
exciting to win alongside Canadians Brian McKeever and the men's sledge hockey
team. This is a true testament of Canada's leadership in Paralympic Sport,"
said Woolstencroft.
    The Canadian sledge hockey team won gold at the Turin 2006 Paralympic
Games, after finishing out of the medals at the Salt Lake City 2002 Paralympic
Games. The team is not only the defending Paralympic gold medalist, but also
topped the inaugural World Sledge Hockey Challenge, which was held in Kelowna,
BC in March.
    Todd Nicholson, captain of Canada's 2006 sledge hockey team, said, "It's
definitely an honour. The gold (in Turin) was for a couple players, like
myself, a long time coming. We had a great team on and off the ice in Turin,
with the coaching and support staff playing a large role in our success."
    The 2006 Paralympic ice sledge hockey team consisted of Jeremy Booker
(Ajax, ON), Bradley Bowden (Mississauga, ON), Billy Bridges (Summerside, PEI),
Marc Dorion (Ottawa, ON), Raymond Grassi (Carp, ON), Jean Labonte (Gatineau,
QC), Herve Lord (Ottawa, ON), Shawn Matheson (Carp, ON), Graeme Murray
(Ottawa, ON), Todd Nicholson (Ottawa, ON), Mark Noot (Winterbourne, ON), Paul
Rosen (Toronto, ON), Benoit St-Amand (Montreal, QC), Dany Verner (Mascouche,
QC) and Greg Westlake (Oakville, ON).
    The two remaining IPC Sport Awards went to Switzerland's Thomas Pfyl for
Best Games Debut and to Germany's Karl Quade for Exemplary Games Official.
    The IPC will also be giving out Paralympic Media and Scientific Awards at
IPC Awards Gala, held as part of the 2007 IPC General Assembly in Seoul, Korea
on November 24.
    The winners were selected by three Awards committees, composed of members
of the Paralympic Movement and experts in the relevant areas. All award
recipients will be presented with a trophy designed and produced by the
Italian company, GDE Bertoni.

    About Canadian Paralympic Committee

    The Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) is a non-profit, charitable,
private organization that is recognized by the International Paralympic
Committee (IPC). The CPC delivers programs that strengthen the Paralympic
Movement in Canada, including sending Canadian teams to the Paralympic Games.
The CPC empowers persons with physical disabilities, through sport, at all
levels. For more information, visit www.paralympic.ca.

    About the International Paralympic Committee

    The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) is the global governing body
of the Paralympic Movement. The IPC organizes the Summer and Winter Paralympic
Games, and serves as the International Federation for 11 sports, for which it
supervises and co-ordinates the World Championships and other competitions.
The IPC is committed to enabling Paralympic athletes to achieve sporting
excellence and to developing sport opportunities for all persons with a
disability from the beginner to elite level. In addition, the IPC aims to
promote the Paralympic values, which include courage, determination,
inspiration and equality.




For further information:

For further information: Norma Reveler, media relations, Canadian
Paralympic Committee, (613) 569-4333, ext. 227, norma@paralympic.ca


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