By Paul Osborne 

Declan Farmer has been voted as the IPC's Best Male Athlete of the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games ©Getty ImagesApril 10 - America's ice sledge hockey star Declan Farmer has been voted by the public as the International Paralympic Committee's (IPC) Best Male Athlete of Sochi 2014. 

The 16-year-old was crucial in the United States' defence of their Paralympic title, scoring three goals and recording two assists throughout the tournament.

"Just being selected to play for Team USA and going to Sochi was a huge honour and privilege for me, especially at such a young age," Farmer said.

"Being able to top all of that off with a gold medal was even sweeter.

"Winning that gold medal represents all of our hard work and sacrifices these past four years. It makes everything we have been through worth it."

Two of Farmer's three goals came in the team's crucial semi-final encounter with rivals Canada as the US looked to hit back from their 2013 Wold Championship loss to the number ones seeds.

Declan Farmer (left) was crucial in the US' defence of the ice sledge hockey title at Sochi 2014 ©Getty ImagesDeclan Farmer (left) was crucial in the US' defence of the ice sledge hockey title at Sochi 2014 ©Getty Images

"We knew we would have to be ready to go, playing the number one seed and our biggest rival in the tournament's first elimination game," Farmer said.

"I believe our loss to Canada in the final of the 2013 World Championships really helped us in Sochi.

"Having to watch your biggest rival beat you for gold is something none of us ever wanted to experience again."

America's gold medal in Sochi saw them become the first ever ice sledge hockey team to successfully win back-to-back following their victory in Vancouver in 2010.

Farmer's exploits in the US team did not just come in Sochi, with the youngster leading the squads scoring across the whole 2013-2014 season with 12 points and seven goals.

The youngster was awarded the accolade ahead of an extremely strong list of nominations as Russian Nordic skier Roman Petushkov, Canadian Nordic skier Brian McKeever, Austrian Alpine skier Markus Salcher and American snowboarder Evan Strong all made the final shortlist.

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