By David Gold

IPC Athlete_of_Month_March_-_Nikolay_Polukhin_11_AprApril 11 - Russia's Nikolay Polukhin has won the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Athlete of the Month award for March.

Polukhin (pictured) finished top of the men's biathlon visually impaired discipline at the IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup, after having won all three events last month in Vuokatti, Finland.

The 29-year-old is the third Russian in a row to land the accolade following fellow skier Roman Petushkov in January and wheelchair curler Oksana Slesarenko in February.

His performances are a welcome boost as he prepares for what could be the pinnacle of his career if he takes part in his home Winter Paralympics in Sochi in 2014.

"I reached my goals in biathlon but not in skiing," Polukhin said, describing his season.

"I realised I have to do a lot of work to compete in skiing on the highest level."

His victory was only a narrow one, however.

He defeated the United States ice sledge hockey team, which won the World Championships in Norway last month, by nine votes, scoring 321 to his rival's 313.

Petushkov also came in ahead of the South Korean ice sledge hockey team, beaten by the US in the Norway final, Australian swimmer Matt Cowdrey and German alpine skier Anna Schaffelhuber.

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