McKillop honoured by the IPC

Updated: Saturday, 08 Sep 2012 21:09

The final winners for the Whang Youn Dai Achievement Award have been selected by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).

Ireland's Michael McKillop and Kenya's Mary Nakhumicha Zakayo were chosen as the athletes who best exemplified the spirit of the Paralympic Games, and they will both receive a gold medal at the London 2012 closing ceremony tomorrow, which will be presented by IPC vice-president Greg Hartung and Dr Whang Youn Dai.

Zakayo, who competes in F57 javelin and shot put, has helped changed the face of Paralympic sport in Africa.

"Because of my success in field events more women with disabilities in my community and in Kenya have shown interest in sports," Zakayo said.

"People with disabilities, especially women, are now getting involved in sports, not just in athletics and field events, but also in other sports as well like wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball.

"The Paralympic movement is spreading in my country and opens opportunities for people with disabilities and help change the perceptions towards people with disabilities in a positive way."

McKillop, who lit up the Olympic Stadium in London with gold-medal winning races in the T37 800m and 1,500m events, consistently dedicates time to helping and encouraging thousands of school children throughout Ireland.

He believes all Paralympians should help promote their own sports and serve as role models for the next generation.

Thirty-nine participating countries nominated 58 athletes for the award, for which the Whang Youn Dai chose the finalists and the IPC chose the winners from there.

The other male finalists were Egypt's Sherif Othman and South Africa's Oscar Pistorius, and the other female finalists were Great Britain's Di Coates and Spain's Teresa Perales.

The final two winners were chosen by an independent panel of judges comprised of Hartung and two IPC governing board members, Rita van Driel and Ann Cody.