By David Gold at the SportAccord Convention in Québec City

Sylvana Mestre_25-05-12May 25 - Sylvana Mestre, chair of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Alpine Skiing Sport Technical Committee, has been awarded the Spirit of Sport Award here in Canada.

The award recognises the commitment and humanitarian spirit of SportAccord members who have made exceptional contributions to making sport a tool for positive change.

Mestre (pictured above, centre) began her work as a guide for visually impaired skiers in 1996 and has since become a coach.

In 2000, the Spaniard became involved with the IPC, and became a member of its Alpine Skiing Sport Technical Committee two years' later.

She has been the chairperson since 2006.

"I am deeply moved winning this award," Mestre said.

"I want to thank those who nominated me from the bottom of my heart.

"For me this award is important for all Paralympic athletes and sports, even those who are still too young to compete.

"I will continue fighting to make visible, promote and educate our athletes and sports, not only every four years, but all year round."

play and_train_25-05-12
Xavier Gonzalez, chief executive of the IPC, added: "Sylvana thoroughly deserves this award and I am delighted she has received such recognition for her years of effort and dedication.

"On behalf of the whole Paralympic Movement and the huge number of athletes who have benefited from your expertise, enthusiasm and motivation over the years, congratulations.

"It is fantastic that such an unsung hero is recognised with this prestigious award."

Mestre founded Play and Train (pictured above) together with Mariona Masdemont in 2010, and the organisation provides people with disabilities, as well as their families, opportunities to practise and train in various sport activities.

They organise camps and programmes, such a recent trip to La Cerdanya in Spain for a winter youth camp.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]