PyeongChang 2018 hopeful Corey Peters and Rio 2016 Paralympian Liam Malone are encouraging all disabled New Zealanders, their friends and family to take the opportunity to come to a new series of five ACC Paralympics New Zealand Open Days. The events take place in Wellington, New Plymouth, South Auckland, Tauranga and Dunedin between November 2017 and April 2018.
The upcoming series builds on the success of the three events that were launched off the back of the New Zealand Rio 2016 Paralympic Games Team’s extremely successful performance and will be run in association with the local ParaFed in each respective region. New Zealanders will get another round of opportunities to meet their Paralympic heroes and learn about Para sport opportunities in their local community.
ACC Chief Executive Scott Pickering - ”Para sport is a great way for our clients to rehabilitate from serious injury, both physically and socially, and to get back out into their community. We’re really looking forward to showcasing the benefits of Para sport through these events.”
The Open Days are designed to increase interest and participation in community Para sport activities run by ParaFeds, National Sports Organisations and Disability Sport Organisations. It also gives Paralympics New Zealand the opportunity to spot talent that could move into a pathway focussed on developing future Paralympians. The events are designed to be fun and interactive, with friends and families encouraged to attend.
Corey Peters (PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games hopeful) said: “The success of New Zealand Paralympic Teams have shown many times that anything is possible. If through the success we can inspire other disabled kiwis to come along to the Open Days, get involved and maybe go all the way to a future Paralympic Games, that would be huge for all the Para athletes that have paved the way.”
Liam Malone (Rio 2016 Paralympian) said: “I am living proof that it’s possible to smash an impossible goal. Before Rio 2016 I didn’t know how fast I could truly be. I’d always finished last at school cross country but I made a promise to myself to try. Fast forward three years and I made the New Zealand Rio 2016 Paralympic Team and won medals. You start out by attending an event like an Open Day.”
The announcement comes at a time when New Zealand’s Winter Paralympic hopefuls are entering the final six months of preparation for the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games. At the same time, their summer counterparts are now only three years away from Tokyo 2020, meaning that there has never been a better time for disabled Kiwis to give Para sport a go. Para cyclist Sarah Ellington is the most high profile success story to emerge from the initial series of ACC Paralympics New Zealand Open Days after attending the inaugural event in Auckland last October. She was subsequently invited to a talent identification camp, selected to the Para Cycling Development Squad and most recently the New Zealand Team for the UCI Para Cycling Road World Championships – all in less than a year.
Sarah Ellington (development Para cyclist) said: “After seeing the performances of the New Zealand Paralympic Team in Rio I wanted to find out more about Para sport. Attending the Open Day was the first step in my Para sport journey and I encourage you to do the same – you will be amazed at the opportunities that are out there.”
Malcolm Humm (Acting CEO and High Performance Director, Paralympics New Zealand) said: “The ACC Paralympics New Zealand Open Days will have two objectives: firstly, to help disabled people discover the joy of local community Para sport, regardless of whether they have Paralympic ambitions. Secondly, we will certainly be looking for those that display strong competitive potential.”
Attendees can expect to meet and have photos with New Zealand Paralympians, experience a variety of Para sports on offer in their community and learn what opportunities exist to participate on a regular basis.
Details of the ACC Paralympics New Zealand Open Days are:
- Wellington: Saturday 11 November 2017, ASB Sports Stadium
- New Plymouth: Sunday 19 November 2017, TSB Stadium
- South Auckland: Saturday 2 December 2017, Bruce Pulman Park
- Tauranga: Sunday 25 March 2018, ASB Arena
- Dunedin: early April 2018, venue TBC