BONN, Germany — American sprinter Blake Leeper, a resident athlete at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif., highlights the nominees for the International Paralympic Committee's (IPC) July's Athlete of the Month award. Public voting is now open on the www.paralympic.org homepage through 6 a.m. ET on Aug. 8, the IPC announced today.
The month of July included major international tournaments across various summer sports that allowed athletes to fine tune their performances heading into the London Games.
The finalists for July's top performers include:
- Blake Leeper (USA): The sprinter tied Oscar Pistorius' 100m T43 world record of 10.91 seconds at the Boiling Point Track Classic in Windsor, Canada, establishing himself as a solid contender for the race in London on Sept. 6.
- Jiri Jezek (Czech Republic): Jezek won the overall 2012 UCI Para-Cycling Road World Cup title after coming away victorious in both the road race and time trial in the C4 class in Baie-Comeau, Canada in early July.
- Sophie Wells (Great Britain): At July's Hartpury Festival of Dressage in Great Britain, Wells dominated the top two spots in grade IV with high scores on her two horses, Pinnochio and Valerius.
- Natalia Partyka (Poland): The Table Tennis star is one of two athletes competing in both the Olympics and Paralympics this year, and she made it to the third round of the Olympic singles competition before being knocked out by the Netherlands' Jie Li.
- Jiske Griffioen and Aniek van Koot (the Netherlands): The Wheelchair Tennis doubles pair scooped titles at both Wimbledon and the British Open in a period of two weeks in July.
- Australia men's Wheelchair Basketball team: The squad went undefeated at the World Challenge in Sydney, with a win against Great Britain in the finals, cementing themselves as one of the teams to beat at London 2012.
- Finland men's Goalball team: The Finnish team won the Malmo Men's InterCup, the final tune-up before London 2012 that featured seven of the teams that will be at the Paralympic Games.
The public now has until 6 a.m. ET on Aug. 8 to vote for which athlete or team it thought had the best performance last month.
Please note that because of the London 2012 Paralympic Games, the IPC will not have an Athlete of the Month for August, but rather will have three award winners for August and September combined. These will include the best performances by an individual male, an individual female and a team.