With the full list of sportspeople nominated for Finland’s Urheilutoimittajain Liitto 2015 Athlete of the Year list made public yesterday, 5 Paralympians find themselves having been nominated among the one hundred or so athletes also on the list. The list included Amanda Kotaja, Leo-Pekka Tähti, Toni Piispanen, Matti Suur-Hamari and Henry Manni.
Kotaja was highest on the list at seventh, with 13 first place votes and 1,034 points overall. She was behind sixth place finisher, Finnish footballer Roman Eremenko who had 47 first place votes. 21-year old Kotaja had a good year in 2015. She won gold at the 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships in the 200 meters, silver in the 100 meters and had an eighth place finish in the 400 maters.
Track and field competitor Tähti was thirtieth overall with 140 points overall. Tähti was another track and field athlete who found success at last year’s IPC Athletics World Championships. He won a silver in the men’s T54 100 meter event. He has also had some success with other sports, and has been a member of Finland’s wheelchair basketball team.
Track and field competitor Piispanen was forty-second with one first place vote and 51 points overall. Piispanen, who became disabled in 1993 during a karate demonstration, initially played wheelchair rugby following the accident. He made the switched to athletics in 2008 and has gone on to become a worl record holder. He is the reigning Paralympic gold medalist in the men’s T51 100 meter event. 2015 was another year that saw him have a lot of sucess, including setting a world record at an competition in Switzerland.
Snowboarder Suur-Hamari was fifty-fourth overall with 32 points overall. Track and field competitor Manni was fifty-ninth, with 19 points overall.