News & Updates

18 July 2023 • Para Athletics

Joynt claims unexpected 200m bronze to provide rousing finish for New Zealand

Mitch Joynt capped a momentous Paris 2023 Para Athletics World Championships for the New Zealand team by securing a dramatic bronze medal in the men’s 200m T64 final in the final session of the nine-day Para athletics extravaganza.

The 28-year-old Auckland-based athlete blitzed to an Oceania record time of 23.32 (-0.3) and seized his opportunity to bust the podium after Paralympic champion Sherman Guity – in the running for gold at the time – tripped and fell just metres from the finish line.

The achievement for Joynt represented an unexpected but welcome climax to the championships for the Kiwi amputee athlete and ensured New Zealand finished the event with nine medals – their best haul at a World Paras for 21 years.

Drawn in lane three in a six-man final, Mitch ran a patient bend while out front, Guity of Costa Rica and the men’s 100m T64 champion Maxcel Amo Manu dominated locked in what appeared to be the battle for gold.

While Joynt’s strength started to drag him back into the race down the home straight there was heartbreak for Guity. Feeling increasing pressure in the adjacent lane from Manu he heartbreakingly tumbled to the track is medal hopes in tatters. Manu flashed past the line in a European record of 21.36 to complete the sprint double and lead home a 1-2 for Italy from Fabio Bottazzini (23.10).

Finishing strongly and profiting from Guity’s mishap, Joynt clinched bronze by trimming 0.04 from his lifetime best in an Oceania and New Zealand record time to send the small but vociferous Kiwi supporters into ecstasy.

A gobsmacked Joynt, who finished eighth in the men’s 200m T64 final at the 2019 Para Athletics World Championships and who also secured a top four spot which guarantees a slot for New Zealand in this event at the Paris 2024 Paralympics, said: “A few weeks ago I started to believe more seriously (I could win a medal) and I had a good chance. I was ranked somewhere in the middle of the field, but to actually win (bronze) is pretty surreal.

“I came into Paris this year with quite a lot of confidence having had the best season of my life. I strung a lot of good races together, so to end it with a medal at World Championships and win myself a slot, and more or less guarantee a spot for Paris next year, is huge – it is what we work for.

“I probably didn’t come off the bend as quickly as I wanted to, but I’m always known as a closer so I’m very happy with how I ran the straight. Having someone maybe a little closer to me would have helped a little bit but I can’t complain, it’s an Oceania record and PB. I’m going to pick it apart because that’s what athletes do, but right now I’m pretty stoked.”

On whether he was aware in the race that Guity had fallen to the track he added: “I knew he had fallen, I just didn’t know whether he had crossed the line or whether he was disqualified. I just knew I had to run through. The Italian outside me was pretty close, so I had to try and reel him in. I knew I had a chance but after I crossed the line I didn’t want to dare to believe.”

The seven-strong team produced an unforgettable Paris 2023 for New Zealand. Besides plundering nine medals, the team set or equalled two championship records, set or equalled six New Zealand records and posted seven Oceania records. 

A delighted team leader Raylene Bates said: “I’m absolutely overwhelmed not just by the performances and the results but the way but the way the athletes conducted themselves as a team. It has been amazing, our most successful campaign for 21 years. To get nine medals from seven athletes is truly astounding and every single athlete has made the top eight. I’m thrilled for the programme, the athletes and their coaches.

“It has been a long pathway to get here. We started growing this programme 10 years ago and we are reaping the benefits now. Six of the seven athletes here in Paris have been to a World Championships before and five have been to the Paralympics, so we have a wealth of experience. It is not something which has just happened overnight. It gives the team great confidence going into Paris 2024.”

***For results go here

New Zealand medallists at the Paris 2023 Para Athletics World Championships:


Lisa Adams – Women’s shot F37

Danielle Aitchison – Women’s 200m T36


Will Stedman – Men’s 400m T36

Will Stedman – Men’s long jump T36

Danielle Aitchison – Women’s 100m T36

Anna Grimaldi – Women’s long jump T47

Holly Robinson – Women’s shot F46


Anna Grimaldi – Women’s 100m T47

Mitch Joynt – Men’s 200m T64