September 9 - Ireland's Michael McKillop was tonight given a prestigious Paralympics award for fair play ahead of Oscar Pistorius, whose claim earlier in the Games that he had been beaten by a rival because he cheated made him a controversial choice.
McKillop, winner of the T37 800 and 1,500 metres here, was the male winner of the Whang Youn Dai Achievement Award, chosen by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and which is awarded to the athletes who have exemplified the best spirit of the Games.
McKillop, a 22-year-old from Ballymena in Northern Ireland, was chosen because of the time he devotes helping and encouraging thousands of school children throughout Ireland.
McKillop, who suffers from cerebral palsy, has now won three Paralympic gold medals, having won the 800m in Beijing four years ago.
In London his time for the 800m of 1min 57.22sec was a world record.
The medal McKillop won in the 1,500m was presented to him by his mother, Catherine McKillop, an ambassador of Proctor & Gamble, an Olympic worldwide sponsor, during an emoitonal ceremony.
McKillop received a special gold medal which was presented to him here during the Closing Ceremony of the Paralympics by Greg Hartung, the vice-president of the IPC, and Dr Whang Youn Dai, after who the award is named because of the amount of time she has contributed her life to the development of Paralympic sport in Korea.
The final two winners were chosen by an independent panel of judges comprising Hartung and two IPC Governing Board members, Rita van Driel and Ann Cody, who overlooked Pistorius, a surprise choice on the shortlist of three.
Pistorius had been at the centre of controversy at these Games since he was beaten in the T44 200m last Sunday (September 2) by Brazilian Alan Fonteles Cardoso Oliveira and afterwards claimed that his rival's blades were too long and therefore illegal.
The women's winner was Kenya's Mary Nakhumicha Zakayo, who competed in the F57 javelin and shot put here.
"Because of my success in field events more women with disabilities in my community and in Kenya have shown interest in sports," said Zakayo.
"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."
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