New Zealand’s triumphant 17 medal haul at the Paralympic Games reflects the great effort being made to dismantle stereotypes about disabled people and elite sport, Labour’s Disability Issues spokesperson Clare Curran says.
“Our Paralympians are powerful role models for the almost one-in-five New Zealanders with a disability. But their triumphs and commitment to sporting excellence have inspired all New Zealanders.
“But it’s a shame, however, that those triumphs couldn’t be watched in real time because commercial broadcasters were unwilling to feature extended coverage. At the next games
I hope we have a public television broadcaster that will give these athletes and their supporters the airtime they deserve,” Clare Curran said.
This year’s Paralympic team was the smallest New Zealand has sent to the games, but the group had energy to burn, bringing home the most medals since the Sydney games in 2000.
“The team ranged in age from 13- 61 showing an enormous spectrum of talent,” Labour’s Sport and Recreation spokesperson Louisa Wall said.
The team won six gold, seven silver and four bronze medals, breaking one Paralympic and four world records- an outstanding achievement.
“The swim team should be particularly proud of its achievements, winning 12 of New Zealand’s 17 medals, while the remaining medals came in the cycling and shooting events.
“With this year’s games a great success, many of our athletes will have their sights set on Rio in 2016,” Louisa Wall said.
“Our athletes will get a hero’s welcome tomorrow, and I hope their success will motivate other aspiring athletes with disabilities to participate in elite sports too,” Clare Curran said.