Above: Jacob Phillips and Caitlin Dore at the second Paralympics Athletics team announcement.
Two further Para-Athletes have today been selected by Paralympics New Zealand (PNZ) to represent New Zealand in Para-Athletics at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games this September.
At the time of the first Para-Athletics team announcement, New Zealand had qualified three female and three male slots for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, into which six Para-Athletes were selected following an in-depth nomination and selection process. Paralympics New Zealand has since been reallocated an additional female and male slot to enable Caitlin Dore and Jacob Phillips to be selected.
Paralympic debutants Caitlin Dore (Taieri Athletic Club) and Jacob Phillips (Hamilton City Hawks) will join London 2012 Paralympian, javelin thrower Holly Robinson and Beijing 2008 Paralympian, shot-putter Jessica Hamill who will headline the Para-Athletics team. They will represent New Zealand alongside four rising stars, Rory McSweeney, Liam Malone, Anna Grimaldi and William Stedman who will also make their debut.
This group of eight talented Para-Athletes make up New Zealand’s second largest Para-Athletics team, second only to a team of nine at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games.
This team competed at the 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha last October, coming home with four medals (two silver, two bronze) and breaking 13 New Zealand records. Together, they are expected to play a significant role in New Zealand’s campaign at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, which commence on 7 September, 2.5 weeks after the end of the Olympics.
The second Para-Athletics announcement was made at the Paralympics New Zealand head office in Parnell today and marks the final selection announcement for the New Zealand Paralympic Team to Rio, taking the team to 29 Para-Athletes. Collectively, the team aims to win a total of 18 medals for New Zealand, including 12 gold, and hopes to retain its London 2012 title of number one in the world, medals per capita.
The experience of Paralympians Holly Robinson and Jessica Hamill will be invaluable as Paralympic Games debutants Caitlin Dore and Jacob Phillips, represent New Zealand at their first ever Paralympic Games.
Caitlin Dore has had a passion for athletics starting from the age of 11. Fast forward to 2015 and Caitlin made a series of pivotal decisions that will continue to shape her sporting journey. Her move to Dunedin last year to train under coach Raylene Bates and focus on the javelin resulted in her making her international debut in the same year. At the 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha Caitlin finished 8th in Women’s Javelin F37.
Jacob Phillips will join Caitlin in Rio as a debutant with a renewed drive. Jacob had to put his Para-Athletics career on hold last year as he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He has come back stronger than ever before clocking personal best times at the 2016 Australian Championships in both the Men’s 100m and 200m T35.
Fiona Allan (Chief Executive, Paralympics New Zealand) said, “It is my great pleasure to announce our final group of Para-Athletes selected to the New Zealand Paralympic Team to compete at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. I congratulate Caitlin and Jacob on their achievement. I also wish to acknowledge Athletics New Zealand for their leadership in developing the breadth of Para-Athletics to enable Paralympics New Zealand to be in a position to select a total of eight Para-Athletes to the team. We now have 29 exceptional Para-Athletes selected, across Para-Athletics, Para-Cycling, Para-Swimming, Para-Shooting and Para-Sailing.”
Track and field Para-Athletes have featured in the New Zealand Paralympic Team at all Summer Paralympic Games since Kiwi’s first competed in Tel Aviv, 1968. The biggest medal haul for Para-Athletics was at the New York/Stoke Mandeville 1984 Paralympic Games, with a total of 19 medals.
Caitlin Dore (Para-Athlete) said, “It is a real honour to be selected to represent New Zealand at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in Para-Athletics,” she continues, “To represent New Zealand at my first Paralympic Games and the pinnacle event for Para-Athletes is going to be amazing. I will be throwing my heart out and will be aiming to thank our New Zealand supporters with my best performances in Rio.”
Linda Hamersley (Chief Executive, Athletics New Zealand) said, “We’re pleased to congratulate two more Para-Athletes on their selection to the Rio 2016 Paralympics in September. We’re proud of their achievements, which are recognition of their commitment to their programmes and drive for excellence.”
Hamersley continued, “This brings our total team to eight Para-Athletes, an exciting mix of experienced World Championship competitors and new emerging talent selected for their first Paralympic Games. Their selection is testament to their hard work and dedication and also the commitment and skill of our coaches and the Athletics New Zealand High Performance Department. Since the London 2012 Paralympics we have seen excellent growth in the quality of our new talent which we aim to continue through to Tokyo 2020.We wish our athletes all the very best in Rio!”
The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, which begin exactly 2.5 weeks after the end of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and take place in the exact same location and venues, will run from 7-18 September 2016. The Games are the world’s largest multi-sport event for disabled athletes; over 4,350 athletes from 178 countries are expected to compete in 22 sports, with 526 medal events taking place.
The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games will be broadcast in New Zealand. Viewers can catch the action as it happens every day on TVNZ’s fully live streamed TV channel DUKE, together with extensive delayed and highlights coverage. Along with ONE News coverage, a special highlights programme will air every night on TV ONE and will be available online through TVNZ OnDemand and AttitudeLive.com.