Russian skip wins Allianz Athlete of the Month for February

Russia’s wheelchair curling skip Andrey Smirnov has been named the Allianz Athlete of the Month for February, following his team’s success at the World Wheelchair Curling Championships 2016.

Photo: WCF / Céline Stucki

Smirnov, helped Russia defeat Norway 7-4 in the finals at that event, held in Lucerne, Switzerland on Sunday 28 February. It was Russia’s second straight world title – their third in five years. This victory bumped them to the top of the world rankings. Russia won nine games during the event and dropped only two matches.

Smirnov received 51 per cent of the public vote, for the award that is administered by the International Paralympic Committee. Australian athlete Isis Holt was second with 40 per cent. Dutch snowboarder Bibian Mentel-Spee came in third with five per cent of the votes, followed by French alpine skier Marie Bochet (two per cent) and Russian Nordic skier Stanislav Chokhlaev (one per cent).

Smirnov led Russia to Silver at their home Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia in 2014 and has competed in nine World Wheelchair Curling Championships between 2004 and 2016. He has collected Gold three times, in 2012, 2015 and 2016.

For more on the World Wheelchair Curling Championship 2016 visit, www.worldcurling.org/wwhcc2016

For more on curling at the Paralympic Winter Games visit, www.worldcurling.org/pyeongchang-2018-paralympic-winter-games