Rory McSweeney first became involved in Para athletics when he attended a Paralympics New Zealand (PNZ) Talent Identification programme event in July 2009. At this event Rory was able to try a selection of Para sports, starting with Para xycling. He then moved on to javelin. Within three months he had made the pivotal decision to move from Wellington to Dunedin to pursue javelin throwing and chase Paralympic glory.
Rory got his first taste of international competition at the 2011 IPC Athletics World Championships in Christchurch. He finished 8th with a personal best throw of 42.71 metres.
Rory has seen some of the world's best Para athletes competing and this has made him hungry for success. Rory wanted to do something special, so he set himself two goals. Firstly, he wanted to break New Zealand Paralympian John Dowall's, New Zealand and Oceania record of 54.89 metres, which was a gold medal winning performance at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games. Secondly, Rory wanted to break Mingjie Gao's world record and be the first amputee to throw over 60 metres. In 2015 Rory competed at the IPC Athletics World Championships in Doha. He threw 55.80 metres and set a new New Zealand and Oceania record, and won a silver medal. It was a moment Rory will always remember as he had achieved his first goal.
In 2016 Rory made his Paralympic Games debut in Rio. He had a great performance winning a bronze medal and in turn became New Zealand's 200th Paralympian. Rory's bronze medal throw contributed to the New Zealand Paralympic team’s stunning 21 medals across 12 individual medallists (9 gold, 5 silver and 7 bronze). The Team finished first in the world per capita and 13th in the world overall (previous best: 16th).
Key international events include:
2019 World Para Athletics Championships - date tbc
Photo credit - Getty Images