Paralympics New Zealand (PNZ) is delighted to announce that 15 year old Tupou Neiufi
has been selected to represent New Zealand in Para-Swimming at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in September. Tupou is a late selection to the Para-Swimming team announced in May, which includes Paralympic gold medallists Sophie Pascoe, Mary Fisher and Cameron Leslie, plus London 2012 Paralympians Nikita Howarth and Rebecca Dubber and two Paralympic debutants, Hamish McLean and Jesse Reynolds.
Tupou who has been a reserve for the team up until now, will take the place of Bryall McPherson who has been withdrawn from the team last week due to illness and injury.
Fiona Allan, CEO, Paralympics New Zealand, said: “I am thrilled to confirm Tupou’s selection to the Para-Swimming team to represent New Zealand at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. Tupou has consistently demonstrated outstanding results, including meeting the Swimming New Zealand nomination and the Paralympics New Zealand selection criteria after setting a minimum qualifying time for Rio 2016, but we simply did not have a slot available for her until now. Although we are saddened by Bryall’s withdrawal we know that Tupou is a strong addition to the team.”
Tupou Neiufi, Para-Swimmer, said: “I am incredibly excited about my selection to compete at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. I have continued to train hard in the hope that I would be selected and now I am thrilled that my dream of representing New Zealand is a reality.”
Tupou is currently ranked 6th in the world in the Women’s 100m Backstroke S9. She has continually improved her personal best times most recently at the Auckland Swimming Association Championships in July she swam three personal bests in this one meet.
New Zealand has won medals in Para-Swimming at every Summer Paralympic Games since it first began competing in 1968. McLean’s announcement takes the Rio 2016 Para-Swimming team up to eight in total, making it equal to London 2012 as the biggest team to ever represent New Zealand.
Between them, the Para-Swimming team holds a staggering nine Paralympic titles, 22 World titles and 10 long course World Records. Together, they are expected to play a major role in New Zealand’s campaign to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, which open on 7 September, 2.5 weeks after the Olympics. The New Zealand Team is aiming to win 18 medals, including 12 gold, across up to 7 Para-Sports and hopes to retain its London 2012 title of number one in the world, medals per capita.
Overall, Neiufi becomes the 29th Para-Athlete to be selected to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Team, following the announcement of three Para-Sailors, seven Para-Cyclists, eight Para-Swimmers, three Para-Shooters and eight Para-Athletics athletes over the last five months.
The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games
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.
Read about earlier Para-Swimming team selection announcements here