With Georgia’s Ministry of Sport and Youth Affair Annual Sports Gala held this past Thursday, Zviad Gogochuri (Georgian: ზვიად გოგოჭური ) and Irma Khetsuriani (Georgian: ირმა ხეცურიანი) came away with Parasports People of the Year awards.
Gogochuri is a judoka competing in the 90 kg weight class, and has qualified for the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio. Last year, at his first major international tournament, he won gold at the 2015 IBSA World Games in South Korea. Following his victory, Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili said of him, “Zviad Gogochuri not only embodies physical strength, but is also an excellent example of rare steadfastness, stamina, and courage, which is why his victory makes us especially proud.” Late last year, he also won gold at the European Championships. Gogochuri had victories at less important meets, including at the 2014 Austrian Open.
Wheelchair fencer Khetsuriani had an impressive year in 2015. This year, Khetsuriani won silver at the World Championships in Eger, Hungary, and won a gold medal at a World Cup event. Khetsuriani is still working on qualifying for the 2016 Summer Paralympics. When not competing at the highest level, she works as an office manager at the Georgian National Paralympic Committee. Somewhat unique in women’s wheelchair fencing, she competes in all three fencing disciplines: sabre, foil and épée. This after only having taken up the sport a few years ago, and managing to become her country’s first female wheelchair fencer to compete internationally. With no other women, she trains exclusively with five other male wheelchair fencers when at home in Georgia.