News & Updates

1 February 2023 • Para Athletics

New Zealand Para athletes excel on Aussie tour

Wheelchair racer Jaden Movold (number eight) was one of a clutch of outstanding New Zealand performers on the recent Para athletics tour to Canberra.

A group of 13 Kiwi Para athletes enjoyed a highly successful competition and classification tour to Australia over the past fortnight highlighted by a flurry of national records and entry standards for the 2023 World Para Athletics Championships.

Some 22 New Zealand records were smashed during the competitive programme which took in the Down Under Summer Series in Canberra (19-21 January) before the athletes later competed at the ACT Championships (27-29 January) in the Australian capital.

Sandwiched in between the two competitions was a critical three-day period in which all the New Zealand athletes were awarded an official classification, which enables them to compete internationally. Part of the international classification ruling requires athletes to them compete post-classification, which is why all 13 athletes competed at the ACT Championships.

Athletics NZ Lead Coach of Para athletics Raylene Bates said: “We were delighted with the tour and it was a huge success story from a competitive point of view. It is a very fast track in Canberra and the athletes were exposed to a high level of competition. It was an invaluable experience for the athletes to compete in a big competition involving heats and finals, as well as other aspects of touring such as travelling together internationally and sharing rooms with other athletes.”

Of the 22 national records posted across the two competitions, young emerging T53 wheelchair racer Sarah James impressed by plundering 12 senior and U20 records during her time in Canberra.

Four-time Paralympic medallist Will Stedman showed good form by posting an A standard for the 2023 World Para Athletics Championships in the 400m T36, clocking 55.04. The Christchurch-based athlete also earned a B standard for the T36 long jump, with a 5.57m leap. Paralympic T36 100m bronze medallist and 200m silver medallist Danielle Aitchison was also in excellent form, posting a World Para Athletics A standard time of 29.90 (+0.8) in the half-lap event.

Six further athletes also clocked Minimum Entry Standards (MES) for the World Para Athletics Championships.

“It was hard to pick out a highlight because the event served up so many inspirational performances,” adds Raylene. “Sarah James set a tonne of national records and it was great to see Una Kinajil-Reding in her first major competitive outing achieving a MES in the shot put F46. Gabrielle Wright and Jaden Movold were stars in the wheelchair events setting some massive PB’s while Zac Orbell in the 100m and 200m T35 was not far off the national senior record of Jacob Phillips, who finished in the top eight in both events at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

“Of the more established names, Danielle Aitchison was only 0.9 short of her PB, which shows she will be in form to fire at the Jennian Homes New Zealand Track & Field Championships, at the Brisbane Track Classic and then when she competes at the Australian Championships.”

New Zealand National Records set on the Athletics NZ Para tour of Canberra.


100m T53 – Open and U20 – Sarah James – 20.04 (0.0)

400m T53 – Open and U20 – Sarah James – 1:16.52

400m T53 – Open and U20 – Sarah James – 1:14.27

200m T53 – Open and U20 – Sarah James – 38.77 (-1.0)

100m T53 – Open and U20 – Sarah James – 19.23 (+1.3)

200m T53 – Open and U20 – Sarah James 36.87 (+0.5)

Shot Put F46 – U17 – Una Kinajil-Reding – 7.50m (4kg)

Shot Put F37 – U17 – Charli Gardiner-Hall – 6.52m (3kg)

Discus F37 – U17 – Charli Gardiner-Hall – 18.81m (1kg)

Long Jump T64 – Open and U20 – Paddy Walsh – 3.99 (+1.4)


Shot Put T34 Open and U20 – Rorie Poff – 7.13m 

100m T35 – U18 – Zac Orbell – 14.52 (+0.3)

200m T35 – U18 – Zac Orbell 30.86 (+0.4)

Long Jump T35 U20 – Zac Orbell – 3.55m (+2.0)

World Para Athletics Standards Achieved

A Standard

Women Men

Danielle Aitchison – 200m T36 – 29.90 (+0.8)


Will Stedman – 400m T36 – 55.04

B Standard


Will Stedman – long jump T36 – 5.57m (+1.5)

Minimum Entry Standard (MES)


Una Kinajil-Reding – Shot Put F36

Sionnan Murphy – Shot Put F37

Sarah James – 100m T53

Paddy Walsh – 100m and long jump T64


Zac Orbell – 100m and 200m T35

Joe Smith – 100m T37

 For full results of the Summer Down Under 2023 event go here

For full results of the 2023 ACT Championships go here