November 13 - German shooting star Natascha Hiltrop has picked up the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Athlete of the Month award for October following her exploits at the IPC Shooting European Championships in Alicante.
The 21-year-old produced a superb performance in the SH1 mixed 10 metre air rifle prone event to take her first European gold ahead of Slovakia's Paralympic champion Veronika Vadovicova and Ukrainian Iurii Stoiev.
Hiltrop's victory was all the more surprising considering that reigning Paralympic champion Cedric Fevre of France and Britain's Matt Skelhon, who was favourite for the event, where also taking part in the competition.
The woman from Bonn was one of six athletes nominated for the October prize, along with fellow shooter and 17-time Paralympic champion Jonas Jacobsson of Sweden, Para-table tennis stars Robert Davies of Britain and China's Pan Feng Feng.
Boccia athlete Witsanu Huadpradit of Thailand and South Korean ice sledge hockey star Seung-Hwan Jung made up the shortlist for the award.
However, Hiltrop came out on top of the public poll earning more than 40 per cent of the votes cast on the IPC website.
The IPC Athlete of the Month nominations are compiled from submissions by National Paralympic Committees (NPCs) and International Federations (IFs).
Hiltrop's performance in Alicante will surely raise expectations that she can secure a home win at next year's IPC Shooting World Championships in Suhl, Germany, which are due to run from July 19 to 26.
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November 2013: IPC Athlete of Month Award for October headed by table tennis players and shooters
October 2013: New shooting star is born in Alicante as Hiltrop overcomes Paralympic champions