The eleventh annual Return to Life award ceremony, honoring the outstanding achievements of Russian athletes, coaches, medical and support staff in 2016, took place at the Russian Paralympic Committee headquarters on 1 December. The event coincided with the International Day of People with Disabilities on 3 December.
The Parasport Foundation, founded by Oleg Boyko, Chairman of Finstar Financial Group, was honoured to be co-organizer of the ceremony, along with the Russian Paralympic Committee. The Parasport Foundation thanks the Russian Paralympic Committee for the opportunity to take part in the awards.
Among the ceremony’s many distinguished attendees were representatives of the Russian government and world renowned sportsmen, including Presidential Aide Igor Levitin, Russian Minister of Sport Pavel Kolobkov, Russian Deputy Minister of Sport Marina Tomilova – herself a double Olympic gold medalist – and former gymnast Svetlana Khorkina.
Awards were given to Paralympic athletes and team members in 11 categories: Twist of Fate, The Power to Will, Personal Example, Overcoming, What is Life?, Life, and Tears and Love, Second Breath, Life Is But a Game, I Love you, Life, Standing Point, and Return to Life.
Before the award ceremony, the Russian Paralympic champions competed in special events, and then conducted masterclasses and competitions for children with disabilities.
Established as a private initiative during the 2006 Paralympic Winter Games in Turin, the Parasport Foundation’s philanthropic work has three main objectives: to provide funding for Paralympic teams, to assist with the organization of events, and to stimulate a climate of non-discrimination and equal opportunity for disabled people.