On Wednesday evening at Government House (Auckland), three of the four Para athletes selected to date to represent New Zealand at the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games were officially farewelled in the presence of Paralympics New Zealand (PNZ) Patron and guest of honour, Her Excellency, The Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy, Governor-General of New Zealand and His Excellency, Sir David Gascoigne. At the same time, six support staff team members were announced to join the Chef De Mission Ashley Light as selected to support the team in South Korea next March.
The event, only made possible thanks to generous support from Dame Patsy and Sir David, was attended by over 100 supporters and special guests. Within just a few days, Para skiers Adam Hall, Corey Peters and Aaron Ewen will begin leaving the country to start their final push toward the Paralympic Winter Games, not returning until March 2018. Para snowboarder, Carl Murphy, is already competing abroad and could not attend, although he did send a video message to thank attendees for their support. At the request of the event Master of Ceremonies, One News presenter Simon Dallow, PNZ partners, Toyota and ACC, were invited to introduce the Para athletes and newly selected support staff, to join Chef de Mission, Ashley Light, on stage. The team was congratulated by Pete Pfitzinger, Acting Chief Executive of High Performance Sport New Zealand, whom acknowledged Snow Sports New Zealand (SSNZ) and PNZ for their outstanding campaign preparation.
The evening began with a key note speech from Dame Patsy, she spoke from the heart about the courage and determination of Para athletes and commended them for contributing to positively changing community perceptions of disability in New Zealand. To conclude the evening, Cate Slater, Director of Content at TVNZ, took to the stage to unveil the plans for free-to-air and OnDemand coverage of the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games. TVNZ will deliver the most comprehensive coverage of the Winter Paralympics Games New Zealand has ever seen with their production partners Attitude Pictures. Live action, highlights and replays will all feature, with coverage rolling out across TVNZ DUKE, TVNZ.co.nz, 1 News and Attitude platforms.
TVNZ and Attitude recently announced a three-year extension to their very successful broadcast of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games through to Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
The four Para athletes selected to date represent two Para sports - Para alpine skiing and Para snowboard. New Zealand is aiming to win a total of two medals at the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games. Between them, this team has secured 9 World Championship and 2 Paralympic Games medals in the past 7 years. Three of the four are already Paralympians, with Hall having already won a gold medal at Vancouver 2010 and Peters, a silver medal at Sochi 2014.
Fiona Allan (Chief Executive, Paralympics New Zealand) said, “Tonight’s celebration was very special. This was an occasion to celebrate the achievements of these remarkable Paralympians and Para athletes who have to date performed outstandingly on the international stage and to wish them all the very best in their final preparations in the lead up to, and at, the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games. With the broadcast of the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games announced to run free-to-air on TVNZ and Attitude next year, we believe New Zealanders will once again get behind the Team as we witnessed during the Rio 2016 Paralympics when they take on the best in world in PyeongChang.”
Another such business to show their support of the PyeongChang 2018 campaign is Mondelez International. Mondelez, which began its partnership with PNZ in 2015, has just extended and this support is very welcome, as PNZ prepares for PyeongChang 2018.
New Zealand Country Head, James Kane explains how “globally, Mondelez International is striving to increase its investment in healthy-lifestyle community partnerships and Paralympics New Zealand is the perfect partner to help us achieve this. Despite perceived physical limitations, Paralympians routinely achieve exceptional athletic performances on the world stage. This in turn influences disabled and able-bodied people to think differently about physical activity and what they can personally achieve, and inspires them to live healthier, more active lives.”
Corey Peters (Sochi 2014 silver medallist) said: “This evening is another exciting milestone for all Paralympians and Para athletes as we edge closer to the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games. It was great to bring together the New Zealand Team and celebrate with special guests and partners.” He continues, describing his maiden Paralympic experience in 2014, where he won New Zealand’s only medal across both the Paralympic and Olympic Winter Games, “To be one of the best in the world and be on the podium on that day in Sochi and to be able to share it with key people that had supported me was a dream realised. My aims in PyeongChang 2018 are to go one better than in Sochi 2014 and win gold and motivate New Zealanders to follow their passion no matter what!”
Ashley Light (PNZ PyeongChang 2018 Chef de Mission) said, “We are focused on creating a high performance team environment in PyeongChang which is both inspirational and motivating, while providing the opportunity for our athletes to deliver outstanding results.” He continues, “I look forward to welcoming our Para athletes into the village on 5 March, followed by the official team welcome and New Zealand flag bearer announcement on 8 March.”
The PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games, which begins nearly two weeks after the end of the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games will take place in the same location and venues from 9 - 18 March 2018. The Games will see 670 athletes from 45 countries compete in 80 medal events across six Para sports.
The PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games will be broadcast in New Zealand by TVNZ. TVNZ DUKE will be broadcasting live curated coverage every evening for the duration of the Games, as well as repeats of the best action during the daytime. TVNZ.co.nz will live stream the Games and also provide OnDemand highlights. 1 News will present the best sporting moments and coverage of our New Zealand Paralympians both on air and online. In the lead up, TVNZ 1 and DUKE will also broadcast Slick as Ice. Produced by Attitude Pictures, this documentary looks at the dedication and determination our four Para athletes - Corey, Adam, Carl and Aaron - have put into their Winter Paralympics Games preparations.