Bonn-Germany, May 14, 2012: Israeli swimmer Itzhak Mamistvalov was voted the International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) Athlete of the Month for April. Mamistvalov set two new world records – already approved by IPC Swimming – at the British Open Swimming Championships in Sheffield, Great Britain, during the first week of April.
In the S1 classification, for athletes with the most severe disability, he swam a new world-best time of 2:20.61 in the 100m Freestyle and recorded a mark of 4:57.79 in the 200m Freestyle. He actually beat his own record times that he set in the same pool almost four years ago, when he also set the world record in the 50m Freestyle with a time of 1:04.57.
The Israeli fended off stiff competition for the monthly honours, garnering 37 per cent of the vote on www.paralympic.org to defeat Brazilian visually impaired sprinter Terezinha Guilhermina by just eight votes. Canadian wheelchair racer Josh Cassidy, British wheelchair racers David Weir and Shelly Woods and French wheelchair tennis player Stephane Houdet were also up for the award.
Despite the accomplishments, Mamistvalov said his top goals this year are not new world-record times, but rather to make the podium at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
“I have not yet achieved what I wanted,” Mamistvalov said.
The Israeli, who has cerebral palsy, won two golds and a silver at the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games, and left the 2010 IPC Swimming World Championships in Eindhoven, the Netherlands with the same results. He said he is quite happy to be heading back to Great Britain this year, where he has had a lot of success in his career.
“I feel very much at home in Great Britain,” he said. “I like to be at home. Here, I can break records.”
Prior to April, all previous winners of the Athlete of the Month award in 2012 were Russians: Nordic skiers Roman Petushkov and Nikolay Polukin, and wheelchair curler Oksana Slesarenko.