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New Zealand Paralympians Michael Johnson and Adam Hall were yesterday awarded the Memberships of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) for services to sport in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2011.
Johnson, who has been competing as a Paralympic athlete in the sport of shooting since 2001, is a two time representative at the Paralympic Games. He is Paralympic Gold medallist, setting the world record, at the Athens Paralympic Games in 2004 and a Bronze medallist in Beijing in 2008. Johnson has two world champion titles to his name and has been over the last 8 years one of the most consistent and dominant athletes in Paralympic Shooting across a range of disciplines.
Hall, made his Paralympic Games debut at the Torino 2006 Paralympic Winter Games in the sport of Alpine Skiing and followed that with a stunning Gold Medal performance at the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Games. He is a world championship silver medallist and has achieved a podium finish at seven World Cup events. Hall, is a three time New Zealand Snow Sports athlete of the year and was a finalist in the 2011 Halberg Awards for the best sporting moment of 2010.
Hall, who took up snow sports at the age of 6, splits his time between New Zealand and a training base in Winter Park in Colorado in the United States. Whilst a competitor within the sport of Skiing, he has a background and passion for Snowboarding and is a strong advocate for the inclusion of Snowboarding into the programme for the next winter Paralympic Games.
For Hall the award ranks second only behind his Paralympic Gold Medal and he acknowledged it as a tribute to his mother who passed away tragically only a month after his winning run in Vancouver.
Alongside Michael Johnson’s impressive sporting achievements his substantial efforts in giving back to be sport that has seen him achieve on the international stage is to be applauded. Johnson is the current chairman of ParaFed Auckland, an organisation to assist physically disabled people into sporting and other opportunities. He has also taken on a role of coaching, and holding training camps for young athletes with physical disabilities to develop their shooting skills. As an inspirational ambassador and representative for Paralympics New Zealand he regularly demonstrates his commitment to a much wider group of Paralympic athletes by educating and captivating audiences with stories his journey to Paralympic sporting excellence.
Johnson was surprised and delighted when he heard the news about the honour “It is an amazing feeling to be acknowledged like this in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. I am thankful for all the support I have received of the years from my friends and family and from Paralympics New Zealand”.
Paralympics New Zealand Chief Executive Fiona Pickering said “I am delighted that both Adam Hall and Michael Johnson have been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for their services to sport. Both Adam and Michael deserve this recognition for their outstanding achievements and contribution to New Zealand Sport”.
The MNZM’s will be officially bestowed on Johnson and Hall in ceremonies later in the year.