Women’s Day Recognition Award

Lausanne, Feb 26, 2014: International Table Tennis Federation’s (ITTF) Dream Building Ambassador and Paralympic Champion Natalia PARTYKA (POL) has been shortlisted for the 2014 International Women’s Day Recognition Award run by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).

Five women were nominated for this prestigious award, and the winner will be announced at a special ceremony at the 2014 Sochi Paralympic Winter Games on 8 March.

On hearing the news the Paralympian, who also participated in the Olympic Games in 2008 and 2012 stated: “I am really surprised and honored that I am nominated to the special award among such great women, which contributed so much to develop the Paralympics movement in their countries and also all over the world.”

“I am sure that the Paralympics movement is the best way to change the life of disabled people, to allow them to believe they are strong, strong enough to win.”

At just 24 years of age, PARTYKA is already a legend in Para Table Tennis. She is the youngest ever Paralympian, playing at Sydney 2000 at just 11 years of age, made history in 2008 by becoming only the 2nd Paralympian to compete in the Olympic games, played at four Paralympics and two Olympics, and has three Paralympic gold medals to her name.

In addition to PARTYKA’s Olympic and Paralympic achievements, she was also nominated for the first ever Female Table Tennis Star award at the ITTF Star Awards earlier this year.

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 other four 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.

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. —- ITTF

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