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Community Post: Top 50 Paralympic Moments Of 2013

50. Timur Tuchinov wins coveted archery world title

When Timur Tuchinov returned home to his small Russian village of Aginskoe after winning double gold in archery at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, he received a hero’s welcome.

He was given a new three-room apartment in Aginskoe, thanks to his victories in the men’s individual recurve standing and men’s team recurve open events.

But something was still missing from his collection come 2013 – an individual world title.

That completely changed in November 2013 in Bangkok, Thailand, where Tuchinov, who has one leg shorter than the other, claimed double gold at the 2013 World Archery Para-Championships.

49. ‘Amphibian Namibian’ makes history in pool

Dubbed the ‘Amphibian Namibian’ in national media, Gideon Nasilowski entered the record books as the first Namibian ever to enter an international swimming competition at the 2013 IPC Swimming World Championships in Montreal, Canada.

The 28 year-old proved doubters, including his friends, wrong, by entering three events following work between the Agitos Foundation and his National Paralympic Committee.

48. Alex Zanardi-Ernst Van Dyk rivalry brews up

Sport, at its most elite level, is perhaps most often perceived as a vocation of the young.

In the world of men’s handcycling, however, the most exciting rivalry in the sport involves two highly talented athletes in their 40s battling regularly for the most coveted victories.

Ernst Van Dyk, an accomplished dual-sport athlete from South Africa, set the standard for the sport throughout its early years before Italian and former standout Formula 1 driver Alex Zanardi turned heads at the London 2012 Paralympic Games by taking home a pair of gold medals.

The sport’s top two H4 class athletes, whose individual accomplishments speak for themselves, have captivated audiences with their razor-thin finishes over the past year.

47. Jon Santacana claims triple gold on home slopes

Heading into the 2013 IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships in La Molina, Spain, all the pressure was on host nation favourite Jon Santacana.

The visually impaired skier, a three-time Paralympian, entered the Championships in his prime, with the crowd ready to see him go down the hill at 100km per hour nearly blind behind his guide, Miguel Galindo Garces.


France’s Souhad Ghazouani could not have started her road to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games on a higher note this year, having recorded a world-record lift of 150kg to win gold in the women’s -73kg category at the 2013 IPC Powerlifting Open European Championships.

Just how much was it? Think about it this way – her lift was equivalent to 120 bottles of wine.

45. Lithuania grab European gold with shoot-out win

On 1 November, some of the top men’s and women’s goalball teams headed to the 2013 IBSA Goalball European Championships in Konya, Turkey, aiming to remain in the A division and claim their spots at the 2014 IBSA Goalball World Championships in Finland.

Nine days later, the men’s competition ended in a way nobody predicted – Lithuania defeated Spain for gold with a thrilling shoot-out victory.

44. Wheelchair dance sport rings the changes

Wheelchair dance sport made some big steps forward in 2013.

The sport has ventured into social media for the first time with the launch of its very own Facebook page – attracting hundreds of fans in just the first few days – as well as a new website and the introduction of sponsor advertising on wheelchairs and competition dress.

There were also three major competitions, with the Continents Cup in Moscow, Russia, being the biggest.

43. Brazil aims high for 2016 with new training centre

In January 2013, Brazil’s National Paralympic Committee announced it will construct the country’s first-ever Paralympic Training Centre prior to the Rio 2016 Games.

42. Austria’s Mendy Swoboda repeats world title

It only took about 40 seconds for Mendy Swoboda to paddle his way to a second consecutive canoe world title in 2013.

In just 40.79, to be exact, the Austrian above-the-knee amputee sprinted the entirety of the K1 men’s 200m TA final to finish first at the 2013 ICF Para-Canoe World Championships in Duisburg, Germany.

41. Brazil football 7-a-side squad pull a stunner

For years, Ukraine, Russia and Iran have consistently been the dominant trio in football 7-a-side, but is that trio about to become a quartet?

The Brazil national football 7-a-side team continue to grow, and their performances at the 2013 Intercontinental Cup, which took place in Barcelona, Spain, have done nothing to retract that statement.

Their dominance in August was there for all to see right from the start of the tournament.

40. China’s Panfeng Feng becomes table tennis star

Panfeng Feng could not have followed up his London 2012 double-gold Paralympic performance with a better year.

China’s star table tennis player dominated the 2013 ITTF Para-Table Tennis Asian Championships at home in Beijing, winning gold in both the men’s Class 3 singles and team events to vault himself to No. 2 in the world rankings.

39. Stephane Houdet’s magical Roland Garros

On the final day of the 2013 Roland Garros wheelchair tennis tournament, France’s Stephane Houdet defeated Japan’s world No. 1 Shingo Kunieda for the men’s singles title in a three-hour, three-set match, before partnering with him later in the day to win the doubles title.

38. Parapan and Asian Youth Games a success

In October, two major events were held that will greatly increase the number of elite-level para-athletes in the near future – the 2013 Parapan American Youth Games and the 2013 Asian Youth Para-Games.

Both events, held within two weeks of each other, showcased how far the Paralympic Movement has grown beyond the elite level, with all standards of professionalism now trickling down to the youth events.

37. Ryan Chalmers, Richard Whitehead push boundaries

Two Paralympians, American wheelchair racer Ryan Chalmers and British double-amputee sprinter Richard Whitehead, completed epic treks across their respective countries in 2013 to raise awareness for the Paralympic Movement.

Both athletes showcased how the Paralympic Movement is more than just the Paralympic Games, as both set out to build a London 2012 legacy by pushing or running unthinkable distances.

36. Bill Chaffey makes it four in a row

Australia’s Bill Chaffey was as shocked as anyone else once he crossed the finish line at the ITU Para-Triathlon World Championships in London in September.

The veteran para-triathlete claimed his fourth world title in the most thrilling, if not testing, of ways by coming from behind to pass up Dutchman Jetze Plat in the final 300m in the men’s TRI-1 class.

35. Para-athletes attract advertisers, sponsors

Throughout 2013, para-athletes at all levels have started reaping the benefits from the worldwide exposure of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

At the elite level, countless Paralympians have been picked up by sponsors, while at the grassroots level para-athletes have made appearances in commercials, on billboards and in various advertising campaigns.

34. Brazil extend win streak to 17 years on pitch

When Brazil lifted the Copa America in September, it was no great surprise. After all, they were the favourites.

Yet it is the legacy they continued which is truly remarkable.

That latest success meant the Brazilians have not lost a major football 5-a-side international tournament since 1996.

33. Bibian Mentel’s special Sochi run

At the end of last season, Bibian Mentel completely dominated her a snowboard cross Test Event for Sochi 2014, beating her competitors with a time that would have seen her collect silver in the men’s event.

Finishing just 0.3 seconds behind American superstar Evan Strong, Mentel’s time of 1:28.10 would have cleared silver medallist Mike Shea by 0.20 seconds had she been competing with the men that day.

32. ESPN’s Dartanyon Crockett feature lights up social media

In 2013, ESPN’s Outside the Lines programme “Carry On” follow-up episode caught the attention of millions, and social media was alit with people wanting to share the personal story of London 2012 Paralympic bronze medallist judoka Dartanyon Crockett.

Former ESPN producer Lisa Fenn never expected her behind-the-scenes story of Crockett’s journey to becoming a Paralympian to explode the way it did.

31. Sir Philip Craven chosen for another four years

Having been elected unopposed on the previous two occasions, fellow Governing Board member Alan Dickson stood against Sir Philip this time around, adding a little extra spice to the proceedings.

30. Markus Rehm’s historic 7.95m jump

It was the leap of the Championships: 7.95m.

No one in the world of para-athletics has ever jumped that far. That is, until Germany’s Markus Germany did last summer during the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships in Lyon, France.

29. Young women target greatness in shooting

The 22 October 2013 could well go down in history as the day that shooting para-sport fully gazed through the window of its future.

Twenty-one-year-old German Natascha Hiltrop beat an incredibly strong field of shooters, including London 2012 gold and silver medallists, to win the R3 (mixed 10m air rifle prone SH1) at the 2013 IPC Shooting European Championships in Alicante, Spain.

28. Newcomer Guus Bijlard’s shocking sailing title

Guus Bijlard’s parents did not attend August’s IFDS Sailing World Championships in Kinsale, Ireland, because their son had just taken up the one-person keelboat six months prior and thought it would be extreme to think he had any chance of medalling.


“The year 2013 has been the best of my life – it has been a dream come true,” said British table tennis player Rob Davies.

Davies, 29, is now the world No. 1 table tennis player in men’s Class 1 after becoming European champion in Italy in September for the very first time.

26. Russian sitting volleyball squad surprises

After missing out on the London 2012 Paralympic Games, the women’s sitting volleyball team from Russia climbed to the top of the European podium in 2013 by winning gold in Poland.

25. IPC and WADA team up for fair play

The importance of anti-doping in para-sport was given new life in August, at the 2013 IPC Swimming World Championships in Montreal, Canada.

IPC Swimming, the global governing body of the sport, led the way in rolling out new methods of reaching athletes and teams and striking right at their heart of their shop window – major competition.

23. Sophie Christiansen bags triple gold

Despite being under a lot of pressure, Great Britain’s Sophie Christiansen was still the most successful rider at the 2013 European Para-Dressage Championships.

22. Jose Macedo becomes Europe’s ‘man to beat’

In his home country, Jose Macedo shocked the favourite the clinch the BC3 title at the BISFed Boccia European Championships.

21. USA regain wheelchair rugby No. 1 ranking

With three tournament titles, including a victory at the sport’s first outdoor event in Sydney, the USA climbed back to No. 1 in wheelchair rugby.

19. Sonja Gaudet sweeps Canada to third title

Canada’s wheelchair curling team asserted their dominance with a third consecutive world title ahead of the Sochi 2014 Paralympics.

18. Ukrainian swimmers win 33 world titles

Olga Sviderska and Dmytro Vynohradets won seven gold medals each at the 2013 IPC Swimming World Championships, contributing to the 33 gold medals the team claimed overall.

17. Sithole becomes first African to win the US Open

Lucas Sithole had already made history before taking to the court for the quad singles final, having become the first African wheelchair tennis player to reach a Grand Slam singles final. However, with the world No. 3 having beaten American world No. 1 David Wagner in the round-robin phase of the event on Friday, Wagner’s bid to avenge that loss started well as he won four of the last five games in the opening set. But Sithole ended up taking the 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 victory.

16. Pourmirzaei lifts 2.5 times body weight

Iranian powerlifter could lift two of actor Arnold Schwarzenegger after setting a new world record of 276kg at the 2013 IPC Powerlifting Asian Open Championships.

15. Russian rookie rows to gold at Worlds

Natalia Bolshakova set a world-best time and upset the top contenders at the 2013 World Rowing Championships.

14. Canada’s sledge hockey team on top of the world

Canada’s ice sledge hockey team won their first world title since 2008, in addition to winning the Sochi 2014 Test Event and World Sledge Hockey Challenge.

13. Carol-Eduard Novak beats standout cyclist Jiri Jezek

At the 2013 UCI Para-Cycling World Championships Romania’s Carol-Eduard Novak’s beat one of the most acclaimed Paralympic cyclists, Jiri Jezek of the Czech Republic, putting a spotlight on the pair’s rivalry.

12. Mikhalina Lysova and Roman Petushkov’s perfect

The Russian Nordic skiing team had a great year in 2013, emerging as they did as the dominant force at the IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships in Solleftea, Sweden, exactly 12 months before their home Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi.