Neelam O'Neill portrait

Name: Neelam O’Neill
Home Town: Auckland
Chosen Sport: Shooting Para sport
Classification: SH1 
Eligible impairment: loss of muscle power
Health condition: spina bifida

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Shooting has always been part of life for Neelam O’Neill. She went from shooting cans and ice-cream containers with a slug gun at the age of 7, to competing in a national small bore high school competition for .22 rifle. Now she represents New Zealand on the world stage in air rifle and air pistol. 

Neelam’s dream is to represent New Zealand in Shooting Para sport at the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games. If she does, she will be the first woman to do so since Alison Smith in 1984. She will also be the first woman to represent Aotearoa in air pistol at a Paralympics. In 2023, Neelam made her first international final in air pistol at the Lima 2023 World Championships, placing 8th and just missing out on earning a slot for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.

She is coached by two-time Commonwealth Games NZ representative Ricky Zhao in air pistol. Shooting Para sport legend Michael Johnson coaches her in air rifle. 

Neelam O’Neill had her international debut at the 2014 Australian Grand Prix, where she won bronze medal in 10m SH1 prone mixed event and in the 10m SH1 women’s standing event.

Her hope is to inspire future generations of young women, so they too can discover the same passion and love she has for shooting, through sport. 

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