April 15 - Germany's ice sledge hockey captain Frank Rennhack has been named as the International Paralympic Committee's (IPC) Athlete of the Month for March after leading his team to gold at the 2013 IPC Ice Sledge Hockey World Championships B-Pool in Nagano.
The team captain (pictured top, left) anchored a talented top line that also included veterans Bas Disveld and Bernhard Hering, and he had a team-high six goals, including two in the final game when Germany defeated Japan 3-2.
"I'm trying to be the heart of our team, and I think in Japan it went like I wanted it to," Rennhack said after the game.
"I think Japan was actually the favourite to win because they had the backing of the fans and it was on their home ice.
"It was so amazing to play against the host country in the final, and then to win the game was like a dream."
The top-three finishers in Japan have earned a place at the Paralympic Qualification Tournament, at which they will meet the bottom three finishers from this week's World Championships A-Pool to challenge them for a place at Sochi 2014 - Rennhack's main goal now.
Rennhack received 40 per cent of the public's vote, just beating Paralympic champion swimmer Mary Fisher of New Zealand, who finished with 37 per cent.
German nordic skier Andrea Eskau, Japanese ice sledge hockey player Kazuhiro Takahashi, Argentinean wheelchair tennis player Gustavo Fernandez and Russian alpine skier Alexandra Frantseva were also shortlisted for the monthly honour.
The IPC Athlete of the Month nominations are compiled from submissions by National Paralympic Committees and International Federations, with the winner being selected by a public vote via a poll on the IPC website.
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