By Zjan Shirinian

Russia's ice sledge hockey team went from not existing to Paralympic silver in just five years ©AFP/Getty ImagesApril 30 - Russia's silver medal-winning ice sledge hockey team has been voted the International Paralympic Committee's (IPC) Best Team of Sochi 2014.

The outfit, formed from an ice sledge hockey programme that was only started up in Russia five years ago, got the crowd in the Shayba Arena rocking as they progressed to the gold medal match last month.

With their ice hockey counterparts in the Olympics disappointing with a quarter-final exit, the ice sledge hockey squad restored some pride for the host nation on their Paralympic debut, beating defending champions the United States in the preliminary round to top their group.

They beat Norway 4-0 in the semi-final to set up a rematch with the United States, which they lost 1-0.

Former team captain Vadim Selyukin, who lost both of his legs while serving in the military in Chechnya, built a Russian ice sledge hockey team from scratch in the late 2000s in his bid to get a national programme together.

He launched a sports club for people with an impairment, from which an international ice sledge hockey programme grew.

Vadim Selyukin (right) was responsible for helping put together an ice sledge hockey programme in Russia ©Getty ImagesVadim Selyukin (right) was responsible for helping put together an ice sledge hockey programme in Russia ©Getty Images

Canada's wheelchair curling team, the Untied States' ice sledge hockey team, and Russia and Sweden's Nordic skiing mixed relay teams were also up for the Best Team award.

For March, the IPC Athlete of the Month award was separated into three different categories - Best Male Athlete, Best Female Athlete and Best Team - based on results at Sochi 2014 to recognise achievements at the Paralympics.

American ice sledge hockey player Declan Farmer was voted the Best Male Athlete and French Alpine skier Marie Bochet was voted the Best Female Athlete of Sochi 2014.

Nominations for all three awards were compiled from submissions by National Paralympic Committees and International Federations.

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