By Tom Degun

usa ice_sledge_hockey_team_in_vancouver_20-10-10October 21 - The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) have unveiled the five shortlisted contenders for the best team category at 2011 Paralympic Sport Awards, with the winner's trophy set be presented by the IPC's international partner Allianz in December.

The accolade will go to the squad who produced the best team performance at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Paralympic Games and the all-conquering United States ice sledge hockey team head the finalists for the prize.

The Americans went undefeated at Vancouver 2010 and won gold with a 2-0 victory over Japan in the finals.

The superb performance, which saw the USA pick up their first ever Paralympic title in the sport, came just a year after the team claimed their first World Championship crown and underlined their status as the dominant force in the Games.

Despite their loss to the USA team in the final, the Japan ice sledge hockey team also make the shortlist after winning a surprise silver at Vancouver 2010 in a fabulous tournament that saw them beat the favourites, host nation Canada, in the semi-finals.

Although Japan eventually fell to the mighty USA in the finals, their performance in Vancouver was exceptional for a nation that fielded a Paralympic Games team for the first time in just 1998.

The Canada wheelchair curling team also make the shortlist after they successfully defended their Paralympic title from Torino 2006 in Vancouver with a thrilling 8-7 victory over Korea in the gold-medal game.

Bruno Yizek_Sonja_Gaudet_Ina_Forrest_Darryl_Neighbour_and_Jim_Armstrong_20-10-11
The team consisted of Jim Armstrong, Darryl Neighbour, Ina Forrest, Sonja Gaudet and Bruno Yizek and defeated a strong Sweden team in the semi-finals before holding off Korea in the final to the delight of the home crowd.

The men's Russia cross country skiing relay open team make the shortlist after the team consisted of Sergey Shilov, Kirill Mikhaylov, Nikolay Polukhin and guide Andrew Tokarev won gold by beating Ukraine and Norway to cap a fantastic display in the sport for them that saw Russia win 22 overall cross country skiing medals in Vancouver, including seven golds.

The final team to make the list is the women's Russia cross country skiing relay open team of Maria Iovleva, Mikhalina Lysova and Liubov Vasilyeva, with guide skiers Alexey Ivanov and Natalia Yakimova.

The join their compatriots in the men's cross country skiing relay open team on the shortlist after claiming gold in the 3x2.5km relay hold off  Ukraine and Belarus for the gold.

The award winner will be announced during a special ceremony that will coincide with the 2011 IPC General Assembly in Beijing this December where the best male and best female from Vancouver 2010 will also be revealed.

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