By Paul Osborne

The application process for the 2014 Spirit of Sports Award has been opened ©Getty ImagesJanuary 21 - SportAccord has announced the application process for the 2014 Spirit of Sport Awards is now open, giving members the opportunity to put deserving people forward until March 3.

The Spirit of Sport Award was created by the SportAccord Council in 2002 to commend the commitment and humanitarian spirit of SportAccord members who have made an exceptional and lasting contribution to using sport as a tool for positive social change.

This year's awards are slightly different to those in the past, with only one project and one individual being presented with the award.

The awards focus on individuals and projects or initiatives that have proved exemplary in one of the following six areas: Sport and Child and Youth Development, Sport and the Environment, Sport and Gender, Sport and Health, Sport and Persons with Disabilities, Sport and Peace.

"The sport is the highest expression of the humanity," said Marius Vizer, President of SportAccord.

"There are people who work hard to promote the values of sport all over the world and to transfer these values to the society.

"We considered that the recognition of all these efforts are welcome on the sport scene.

"Although only one project and one individual is being presented with the award, these awards are meant to express our appreciation for the International Federations for influencing society."

Iran's Zahra Nemati won the 2013 individual award following her gold medal at the London 2012 Paralympic Games ©Getty ImagesIran's Zahra Nemati won the 2013 individual award following her gold medal at the London 2012 Paralympic Games ©Getty Images

The Spirit of Sports Awards Commission takes into account a number of criteria and principles when selecting the winner of each award.

These include whether the application: uses sport to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals; uses sport for achieving social transformation for Children and Youth, the Environment, Gender, Health, Persons with Disabilities or Peace; has created significant impact in changing the lives of the community or individuals with which it has engaged; can be sustained in the long-term; and has sufficient characteristics that it can be shared with or replicated by other members

The Spirit of Sport Awards 2014 are due be presented to the Laureates during the 12th annual SportAccord International  Convention in Belek/Antalya, Turkey, which is scheduled to take place in April.

Last year's awards saw Iranian Paralympic archery gold medallist Zahra Nemati win the individual award following her victoy at London 2012 - where she became the first Iranian woman to win a gold medal in either an Olympic or Paralympic Games.

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May 2013: Iranian Paralympic champion Nemati wins SportAccord Spirit of Sport Award