News & Updates

5 July 2024 • Para Athletics

Aitchison earns selection for Paris 2024 Paralympic Games

Dani makes it into the New Zealand Paralympic Team for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games. Credit: Augusto Bizzi.

Paralympian #211 Danielle Aitchison has been selected to the New Zealand Paralympic Team for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.

The Hamilton-based sprinter has enjoyed a stellar season and competes in both the Women’s 100m T36 and Women’s 200m T36 events at Paris 2024.

The 22-year-old athlete, who has cerebral palsy, played numerous sports as a child, but her love of sprinting was cemented after attending the Halberg Games in 2017.

Joining the Hamilton City Hawks club and under the guidance of her current coach, Alan McDonald, she made her international debut at the 2019 Para Athletics World Championships in Dubai winning a breakout 200m T36 silver medal.

At the age of 20, Aitchison made her Paralympic debut at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games and performing like a seasoned veteran snared 200m T36 silver and 100m T36 bronze medals.

The Patetonga-raised athlete has gone from strength to strength over the past two seasons and last year claimed a stunning 200m T36 gold medal in an Oceania record time and 100m T36 silver at the 2023 Para Athletics World Championships in Paris.

At the Kobe 2024 Para Athletics World Championships in May, she further built on this success by blitzing to 200m T36 gold in a world record mark of 27.47 – wiping a staggering 0.70 from the previous mark – and also bagged the 100m T36 silver medal.

A delighted Aitchison, who recently completed an internship at Paralympics New Zealand (PNZ) supporting the Seeing is Believing Paralympic Education Programme said of her selection: “I am incredibly happy to receive selection to my second Paralympic Games. It has been an emotional few months to this moment and I am looking forward to getting out on the track and giving my all.”

Greg Warnecke, PNZ Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are very happy to announce Danielle for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games. Since her success in Tokyo, she has matured and developed further into an established world-class athlete. I’m sure she will perform once again with typical pride and spirit as part of the New Zealand Paralympic Team in Paris.”

Cam Mitchell, CE at Athletics NZ, added: “We are delighted that Danielle has been added to the Para athletics team for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games. Her gold medal-winning performances over the past couple of seasons have taken her to a new realm and we are very much looking forward to watching her compete in the French capital later this year.”

Aitchison joins four Para athletics athletes – Paralympian #183 Holly Robinson, Paralympian #195 Anna Grimaldi, Paralympian #208 Will Stedman and Para athlete Mitch Joynt – who were named in April on the NZ Paralympic Team for Paris.

Since the initial announcement, Grimaldi, who was selected for the Women’s Long Jump T47 has been additionally added to also compete in the Women’s 100m T47 and Women’s 200m T47 events.

So far 13 athletes have been named in the NZ Paralympic Team for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Gamers across six Para sports.