Canada's most decorated Paralympian, ​Chantal Petitclerc, was celebrated by becoming 2015's International Women's Day Recognition Award recipient.

The twenty-two time medallist was nominated for the Paralympic Committee award by Canada's Paralympic governing body and beat out five other short-listed athletes to take the honour. 

"This is such a fantastic honour and a unique recognition", the five-time Paralympian said.

The former wheelchair racer retired from competition after her 14th career gold at Beijing in 2008.

That same year, she went on to win the Lou Marsh award as Canada's top athlete. The following year, Petitclerc was named to the Order of Canada for her achievements as a Paralympic athlete. 

"When you retire, you realise that sport is much more than performances in a stadium. I know that sport can have an impact on people's life, and I want to think that I can make a difference in inspiring others to reach their goals. But to be recognized on International Women's Day makes it even more special," Petitclerc said.

The 45-year-old made her Paralympic Games debut at Barcelona in 1992, where she captured two bronze medals to begin her domination of the discipline. 

She will support the next wave of Canadian talent at Rio in 2016 as the chef de mission for Canada.

The award is handed out every year to a female athlete that inspires and emulates the Paralympic values. 

"Chantal is exactly the sort of positive role model that the Paralympic Movement needs, not just for women, but for all athletes and leaders," IPC chairperson Tine Teilmann said.

"She has taken the momentum and experience gained from a very successful career and used it to continue her involvement in para-sport, supporting and guiding the next generation of athletes."

With files from the Canadian Paralympic Committee