POSTED: Friday March 4th 2011

Team Italy voted IPC's "Athlete of the Month" February 2011

Team Italy has been voted by the public as the International Paralympic Committee's (IPC) `Athlete of the Month' for February 2011.

At the 2011 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey European Championship in Solleftea, Sweden, Team Italy caused two major upsets to become the new European Champions.

Tipped by a minority as outsiders, and at best a medal hope before the Championships, the Italians finished second in group B and produced a huge shock by defeating hot favourites Norway 2:1 in the semi-finals.

Against Norway, who had scored 44 goals and conceded just three in winning their group, the Italians fell a goal behind but fought back with goals from Florian Planks and Andrea Chiarotti to secure a famous victory.

In the final Italy played the Czech Republic who had beaten them 3:0 in the Group stages. Gregory Leperdi opened the scoring and then Florian Planks' goal secured a 2:0 European title victory. It is an amazing feat considering the country only started playing the sport in time for the Torino 2006 Paralympic Winter Games.

Team Italy were voted February's IPC `Athlete of the Month' following a poll on the IPC's official Facebook page .

Along with Team Italy four other athletes were shortlisted for the IPC `Athlete of the Month'. Three had competed in the IPC Biathlon and Cross-Country Skiing World Cup Finals in Finsterau, Germany and the other the 2011 Paralympic Winter World Cup in Solleftea, Sweden.

They were:
 Irek Zaripov (Russia) - Won three out of four Men's Sitting races - the Cross-Country Skiing Pursuit, the 15km race and the Biathlon Pursuit - at the recent World Cup Finals event in Germany. Winning these races secured him the overall World Cup rankings in both Biathlon and Cross-Country Skiing.
 Mikhalina Lysova (Russia) - In the Women's visually impaired category at the World Cup Finals in Germany, Lysova (Guide Alexey Ivanov) won both Biathlon races and the Cross-Country Skiing pursuit. She topped the Biathlon World Cup rankings with a perfect score of 700 points.
 Ivan Frantsev (Russia)- At the Paralympic Winter World Cup in Sweden Franstev won three gold medals in the visually impaired category - two in Giant Slalom and one in Slalom.
 Katarzyna Rogowiec (Poland) - In the Women's standing category she won three out of four Cross-Country races at the Biathlon and Cross-Country Skiing World Cup Finals in Germany.

The 2011 "Athletes of the Month" are as follows:

January: Yon Santacana, Alpine Skiing

Notes to the Editor:

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 nine 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.

Founded on 22 September 1989, the IPC is an international non-profit organization formed and run by 167 National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) from five regions and four disability specific international sports federations (IOSDs). The IPC Headquarters and its management team are located in Bonn, Germany.

For further information, please contact Craig Spence, IPC Media and Communications Senior Manager on e-mail: or call +49-228-2097-230. Alternatively, please visit or www.ParalympicSport.TV

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Keywords · IPC · International · Paralympic · Committee · Team Italy · Ice Sledge Hockey · 2011 European Championship ·

Name: Craig Spence
Organization: International Paralympic Committee
Phone: 00492282097230

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