MONACO – The biggest award in para sport has seen nominees named as the Laureus World Sports Awards announced its shortlist of six athletes for the World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability award. Marcel Hug, Yui Kamiji, Oksana Masters, Bibian Mentel-Spee, Jezte Plat, and Markus Rehm have all been named nominees for the award which will be handed out in Monaco on February 27th.
Marcel Hug had another phenomenal season in 2017, winning three world championships at the World Para Athletics Championship in London in the 800m, 1,500m, and 5,000m. On top of his work on the track he was a star on the road winning the Tokyo, Boston, Berlin, Chicago, and New York Marathons.
Yui Kamiji has climbed to the top of the women’s singles wheelchair tennis rankings after a phenomenal year in 2017. In 2017 the Japanese tennis player won 14 singles titles out of a possible 18 through the tour, winning three of the four Grand Slams, winning in Australia, France and the US. She also impressed in doubles, sitting number two in the world winning eight titles and two Grand Slams.
Oksana Masters moved to a new sport in 2017, for the third time in her career moving from rowing to cycling to now Nordic skiing. Masters won four world titles in her first year as an elite athlete at the sport along with winning four gold and a bronze in the World Cup. Masters finished her season ranked number one in cross-country and third in biathlon.
Bibian Mentel-Spee had a phenomenal come back year in 2017, after cancer treatment took her away from competing in 2016. Mentel-Spee has long led snowboarding, fighting for its inclusion at the Paralympic Games she continued to impress in 2017.
Being an elite athlete at one sport wasn’t enough for Dutchman Jetze Plat who was at the top of both cycling and triathlon. Plat won the Individual Time Trial and Road Race at the UCI Para Cycling World Championships and then went and won the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final just 12 days later. Nine days after that win Plat won the Berlin Marathon before claiming the para-athlete title at the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon in October, leading from start to finish.
German Markus Rehm continued to impress in Para Athletics claiming two world titles in very different disciplines in London. Rehm dominated the field in the men’s long jump T44 with an eight meter leap, more than one meter clear of the rest of the field before winning the 4x100m T42-46 with his German team mates.