2008 WIDEX Sportsman and Sportswomen Award Finalists

Men"s Category:
Photo: Maris GRENINS

Maris GRENINS (LAT) - Athletics
Winner with 101 points

Born 25 JUN 1981 in Riga, Latvia. Maris won 4 gold medals at the 1st World Deaf Athletics Championships in Izmir, Turkey in August 2008 and he set a new world record in 110m hurdles, beating the Vyacheslav Skomorokhov's record set almost 40 years ago in Belgrade 1969. Maris produced many good results and the 4 gold this year was the ultimate achievement for Maris.

  • Long Jump – Gold Medal 7.67m
  • Triple Jump – Gold Medal 14.88m
  • 100m – Gold Medal 10.68
  • 110m Hurdles – Gold Medal 14.44
Photo: Craig MORGAN

Craig MORGAN (AUS) – Swimming
Finalist with 70 points

Born 4 JAN 1989 in Blayney, New South Wales. Craig's achievements for the year of 2008 are indicated below:

  • Australian Deaf Games (ADG) – January 2008
    • 6 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze medals
    • 2 Games Records
    • Male Swimmer of the Games
    • ADG Team of the Games Award (NSW Swimming Team)
  • NSW Central Western District Summer Championships – February 2008
    • 3 gold, 4 silver medals (mainstream)
  • NSW State Country Championships – February 2008
    • 2 gold medals (multi-disability)
    • 4 Top 10 places (mainstream)
  • NSW State Country Short Course Championships – July 2008
    • 1 gold medal (multi-disability)
    • 4 Top 20 places (mainstream)
  • NSW Central Western District Short Course Championships – August 2008
    • 9 gold medals (mainstream)
    • Age Champion (15/o)
  • Australian Short Course Swimming Championships –September 2008
    • 1 gold, 4 silver, 2 bronze medals (multi-disability)
    • 2 ICSD World Deaf Records – 50 m Backstroke & 100 m Backstroke
    • 6 Australian Deaf Records
Photo: Jesus E. GARCIA

Jesus E. GARCIA (VEN) – Athletics
Finalist with 62 points

Born 23 SEP 1981, Jesus participated in the National Athletics program for adults of the Venezuelan Athletics Federation which took place on May 24, 2008 in Maracaibo, Venezuela. This distance was 72.29 in javelin which qualified him in the South American Athletics Games in Chile during the month of July where he did not perform well due to health reasons. He also broke the Deaf World Record which was recognized by ICSD. He participated in the World Deaf Athletics Championship in Izmir, Turkey and earned Gold medal in Javelin with a distance of 68.45.

Photo: Alexey LANDAR

Alexey LANDAR (RUS) – Athletics
Finalist with 59 points

Born 9 SEP 1987 in St. Petersburg, Russia. Alexey's achievements are indicated below:

Winter 2008:
High Jump: 2nd place, Indoor Athletic EC – Italy
Triple Jump: 1st place, Indoor Athletic EC – Italy

Summer 2008:
High Jump: 1st place in World Athletics Championship, Turkey

Photo: Avi BOKLER

Avi BOKLER (ISR) – Karate
Finalist with 55 points

Born 14.08.1981 in Russia. Avi at age 27 years old is the karate fighter with second Dan from Haifa, Israel and participated at the World Deaf Martial Arts Championships in Toulouse, France in May 2008. He won two medals in 75 kg category with Gold Medal and open category with Bronze medal bringing from previous championships to his grand total of 8 medals (3 gold, 2 silver and 3 bronze). Recently in October 2008 he represented Israel (hearing) at the World Karate Shoto Championships in Toronto, Canada and won a bronze medal in the individual category and fourth place with Israei team in the team category. He trains with Oded Friedman, a Karate Shoto instructor in Haifa since he was 10 years old. He also plays Futsal for Haifa Deaf Sports Club.

Photo: Christoph BISCHLAGER

Christoph BISCHLAGER (GER) – Athletics
Finalist with 52 points

Born 17 JUL 1983, Christoph"s accomplishments for the 2008 year:

European Deaf Athletics Indoor Championships – Gold Medal in Heptathlon 1 March 2008 Genova, Italy – 4275 points

  • 60m 7.65 sec
  • Long Jump 5.65m
  • Shot put 12.88m
  • High jump 1.82m
  • 60m hurdles 9.30 sec
  • Pole vault 3.40m
  • 1000m 3:00.81

World Deaf Athletics Championships - Gold Medal in Decathlon 27 September 2008 Izmir, Turkey - 5868 points

  • 100m 11.78 sec
  • Long jump 6.04m
  • Shot put 13.26m
  • High Jump 1.81m
  • 400m 55.04 sec
  • 110m hurdles 16.93 sec
  • Discus 37.04m
  • Pole vault 3.40m
  • Javelin 42.59m
  • 1500m 5:12.76
Photo: Gabor MATHE

Gabor MATHE (HUN) – Tennis
Finalist with 42 points

Born 2 JUL 1985 in Hungary. Gabor won European Champion in Men Singles during the 11th European Deaf Tennis Championships from 26th July until 2nd August 2008.

Photo: Huseyin ER

Huseyin ER (TUR) – Football
Finalist with 40 points

Born 14 JAN 1985 from Turkey. At the World Deaf Football Championships, Huseyin scored six important goals to carry Turkey through each round. After having scored twice in two earlier matches, Huseyin scored two goals against Russia in a crucial first round match to put Turkey through to the quarter finals.

Huseyin also displayed fair play when Turkey won by default due to an unfortunate infraction by the opposing team. Huseyin made a point in going over to the Greece team to shake each player"s hand, passing on his commiserations.

Huseyin then became the first player to score twice in a World Deaf Football Championship Final against Germany but unfortunately this was not enough for Turkey to win the Men Championships.

Photo: Cyril JONARD

Cyril JONARD (FRA) – Judo
Finalist with 34 points

Born 23 FEB 1976 in France. Cyril was French Judo Champion 81kg and in open category in Limoges. Also he was a World Deaf Judo Champion in 81kg and open category at Toulouse.

Photo: Joshua HEMBROUGH

Joshua HEMBROUGH (USA) – Athletics
Finalist with 31 points

Born 3 JUN 1988 in Florida, United States. Joshua completed in 110m Hurdles at his college, Purdue University last spring as a freshman. He clocked numerous races that were good enough to break the Deaf World Record of 14.3 held by SKOMOROKHOV Vyacheslav (1940) URS, but the times were not properly submitted. Joshua"s best time was 13.56 with wind of (3.2 m/s) and 13.78 without wind aided. At the 2008 Outdoor NCAA he placed 16th with time of 13.91.

During indoors season, Joshua ran 60m hurdle at 7.79. He was ranked 13th at 2008 Indoor NCAA.

Women's Category:
Photo: Trude RAAD

Trude RAAD (NOR) – Norway
Winner with 101 points

Born 22 APR 1990, Trude's accomplishments included two Gold medals in hammer and discus throw at the World Deaf Athletics Championships in Izmir, Turkey in August 2008. She also holds World Junior Record and European record in discus. Trude is proud to hold a hammer throw record in World category. Her other accomplishments include:

  • 3 Silver medals (hammer, discus, shot put) at Norwegian Championships (hearing)
  • 3 Gold medals (hammer, shot, discus) at Norwegian Junior Championships (hearing)
  • Nordic Match (1 gold in hammer 58,90) and (1 silver in shot put 13.15)
  • Throw-gala in Halle, Germany in May no. 6 in junior class on hammer 58.03 (Norwegian junior record)
  • New record in hammer every weekend in August (58.55, 58.90, 59.37 and 60.47)

Trude at very young age will definitely make news and set more new records.

Photo: Kairit OLENKO

Kairit OLENKO (EST) – Athletics
Finalist with 84 points

Born 21 DEC 1985 in Estonia. Kairit won 3 gold medals at the 1st World Deaf Athletics Championship in Izmir, Turkey in 100m hurdles, high jump and heptathlon. In addition she set world records in heptathlon and javelin.

She also won 2 gold medals at the EDSO Indoor European Championships this year in 60m hurdles and high jump and in additio, she won a bronze in long jump.


Olga YAKUBOVSKAYA (RUS) – Athletics
Finalist with 66 points

Born 06 AUG 1981, Olga's accomplishments for this year:

1500m: 4.36.40 (29 FEB 2008) Russian and European Records (1st place Indoor Athletic European Championships, Italy)
3000m: 9.43.9 (8 FEB 2008) Russian and European Records) 1st place, Indoor Athletic European Championships, Italy

1500m: 4.31.46 (25 SEP 2008) 2nd place World Deaf Athletics Championship, Turkey)
5000m: 16.56.8 (01 AUG 2008) World, Russian, and European Records (1st place World Deaf Athletics Championship, Turkey)
10,000m: 35.40.4 (31 JUL 2008) Russian and European Records (1st place World Deaf Athletics Championship, Turkey)

Photo: Natalia MIKHAYLOVA

Natalia MIKHAYLOVA (RUS) – Football
Finalist with 54 points

Born 18 JUN 1987 in Russia. Natalia is the goalkeeper for Russia Women Team and she inspired Russia to win the World Deaf Football Championship Final against hot favorites Germany by saving a penalty in the Women Final, which in turn inspired Russia to win in extra time 1-0.

Natalia also kept four clean sheets in six games for the duration of the World Deaf Football Championship, a feat that no other goalkeeper in either the men or women competition achieved.

Natalie also maintained her humbleness after winning the gold medal by saying it was a team effort that won the championships but in reality she had a major part to play and contribute to the team"s successful quest for the gold medal.

Photo: Melinda VERNON

Melinda VERNON (AUS) – Athletics
Finalist with 52 points

Born 27 SEP 1985, Melinda has continued to improve since she recovered from her two operations to her jaw to help her breathing problem. She is the most promising Deaf Female athlete that Australian deaf sports have ever seen and her results are better than her mentor, Joanne Lambert. She will most likely eliminate Joanne"s name from the World Deaf record books in the near future. Below are her accomplishments in 2008:

  • CITY 2 SURF 2007 – 4th place – time: 50:37
  • 1st place – Zatopek 10,000m (Australian National Championship) Time: 34:28.0 sec (which is the new World Deaf Record) on 13 DEC 2007
  • Sydney Track Classic 1500m Time: 4:22 on 12 JAN 2008
  • World Cross Country Trials Canberra 8km Time: 27:46 on 8 MAR 2008
  • Selected in Australian Women"s Cross Country Team - finished in 41st place at World 8km Cross Country Championships –Edinburgh, Scotland in Time: 27:23 (Bronze Medal –Australian Team) on 30 MAR 2008
  • World University 6 Km Cross Country Championships – Marquenchy, France Time: 23:18 (Silver Medal – Australian Team)
  • 2nd Place Sydney Herald Half Marathon – Time: 1:17:45 on 18 MAY 2008
  • 4th Place City 2 Surf 2008 Sydney – 49:24
  • 7th Place (5th Australian) – Australian 8km Cross Country Championships – Geelong, Vic. Australia Time: 28:00 in September, 2008
  • Sydney Striders 10km Series –Homebush - July, 2008 Time: 35:50 - in Oct. 2008 Time: 34:48
  • Selected to represent Australia in Chiba Ekiden Relay in Japan on 23 NOV 2008
Photo: Heike ALBRECHT

Heike ALBRECHT (GER) – Tennis
Finalist with 48 points

Born 1 MAR 1991, Heike's achievements were noted during the recent European Deaf Tennis Championships at Bucharest, Romania. She participated in Women's Singles, Doubles and Mixed Doubles and received Gold medal for all three events.

Photo: Inna REZNIK

Inna REZNIK (UKR) – Karate
Finalist with 42 points

Born 1 SEP 1992 in Ukraine. Inna is an excellent female combatant with a lot of capacity. At the World Deaf Martial Arts Championship in Toulouse, France she won 2 titles of World Championship category – 60kg and open. She is 16 years old and is considered the big woman revelation. She has positioned herself for a great future.

Photo: Emily CRESSY

Emily CRESSY (USA) – Football
Finalist with 40 points

Born 30 AUG 1989 in California, United States. Emily is an elite athlete playing for the Kansas University soccer team and her accomplishments for this year can be read in those two articles below through ESPN and NCAA news.

Photo: Joana Filipa SANTOS

Joana Filipa SANTOS (POR) – Judo
Finalist with 30 points

Born 11 FEB 1990 in Portugal. Joana is a World Deaf Judo Champion at the World Deaf Martial Arts Championship in Toulouse, France. She won her title at the 63kg and open category.

Photo: Beatrice BRUNNBAUER

Beatrice BRUNNBAUER (AUT) – Alpine Skiing
Finalist with 29 points

Born 25.03.1992 in Mödling, Austria. Beatrice is considered an important youth athlete in Austria. 2008 was a very good year for her. She is the Deaf Austrian National Champion in Super G and Giant Slalom. In March 2008 the European Deaf Ski Championships took place in Seefeld, Austria. Beatrice got 6th place in Super G and 7th place. The next competition was the Euro cup in Alleghe, Italy. She won the Bronze medal in Super G and Giant Slalom. At the Euro cup there were 25 women from eight countries. Regarding to this success Beatrice is recognized by the state of Austria as the top deaf athlete.

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