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Paralympics NZ announces strong team for Beijing

Media release
For immediate use
May 6 2008

Paralympics NZ announces strong team for Beijing

New Zealand will send a team comprising 30 athletes to the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing.

The team is headed by Athens Gold medallists Tim Prendergast (training in UK) and Matt Slade (Auckland), both athletics, and Michael Johnson (Auckland) in shooting. Tim Johnson, Dan Buckingham, Jai Waite and Curtis Palmer (all Auckland), Gerry Tinker (Christchurch) and Sholto Taylor (Hastings) are the members of the gold medal-winning Wheel Blacks, who will go to Beijing to defend the title.

Liam Sanders (Auckland), Maurice Toon (Waikato) and Jeremy Morriss (Rangiora) in Boccia and Daniel Sharp (Auckland) in swimming are other team members who won medals in Athens.

Current world record holders, Wellington’s Paula Tesoriero in cycling and Invercargill’s Jessica Hamill in athletics, will be athletes to watch, with other debut athletes including the youngest team member 15-year-old Sophie Pascoe in swimming.

Fiona Allan, PNZ Chief Executive says that the team is slightly smaller than the 36 athletes who went to the 2004 Athens Paralympics, as strict selection criteria have been applied.

“The 30 athletes selected to represent New Zealand at the 2008 Paralympic Games have demonstrated that they are capable of medal winning performances in Beijing. The Games selection process has meant that the whole team is very focused on achieving these goals and we believe that this will be the best-prepared team that has ever been sent to a Paralympic Games event.”

The seven sports that New Zealand will be represented in are: athletics, Boccia, cycling, powerlifting, shooting, swimming and wheelchair rugby. Twenty-six officials will accompany the athletes led by four-time Paralympic Gold Medallist and Chef de Mission, Duane Kale.

The Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games, which will be held from September 6-17, will use the same venues and Games village as the Olympic Games. It is expected that 4000 athletes from 130 countries will compete.



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