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Wanganui Rider Wins Paralympic Hearts

A Wanganui woman is on her way to the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games, thanks to the gratitude of the New Zealand team.

Sponsor Telecom is sending Keryn McOmish to the Paralympics, after asking team members to nominate a supporter who deserved to be there with them, but did not have the means.

Keryn was nominated by disabled equestrian Jayne Craike of Auckland. Keryn, who has Gillian Barre Syndrome [pro: GILL-e-an BAR-ay], narrowly missed selection for the team when Jayne won the only equestrian place available to New Zealand.

“Despite being a solo mother on a disability pension, Keryn has tirelessly organised national and international competition for disabled riders, at times digging into her own purse to make up a shortfall in funds,” says Telecom’s Community Relations Advisor Linda Harrison.

“Telecom’s awarded this trip to Keryn because of her selflessness – she wanted so much to be there to support Jayne, even though she’d lost a place in the team to her,” Ms Harrison says.

“It’s also a way of recognising all the families, friends, coaches and supporters who’ve helped make these athletes what they are,” she says.

Telecom has also awarded a trip to Auckland’s Jack Flood. Mr Flood was nominated by his son Ross, who is representing New Zealand in boccia [pro: BOT-cha], a cross between indoor bowls and petanque.

Ross said his parents deserved recognition for the way they looked past his cerebral palsy to give him the best life possible, grappling with a system that had labelled him a vegetable.

Telecom is sponsoring the elite New Zealand athletes with disabilities who will make their bid for gold at the Sydney games from 18-31 October this year.

The 43-strong team will compete in events as diverse as swimming, athletics, sailing, powerlifting, archery, wheelchair tennis, equestrian, wheelchair rugby, shooting, cycling and boccia.

To find out more on Paralympics NZ, go to: www.paralympicsnz.org.nz


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