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News posted on Monday 20th May, 2024

Celebrating 100 days to go to the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games

Two men and a woman stand together in front of a black background. All three are wearing sports apparel

Photo: Paris 2024 selected Paralympians Cameron Leslie (#164) and Anna Grimaldi (#195), along with Paris hopeful Para cyclist Devon Briggs. Credit: Getty Images

In only 100 days, the New Zealand Paralympic Team will make history as they march down the iconic Champs-Élysées in the heart of Paris, in the spectacular Opening Ceremony of the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.

The Chef de Mission of the New Zealand Paralympic Team, Raylene Bates, says the excitement is building as the team bound for Paris comes together. Eleven Para athletes have been named in the New Zealand team so far.

“The New Zealand Paralympic Team is one of New Zealand’s most successful sports teams, consistently performing on the world stage. And the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games promise to be more exhilarating, inspiring, inclusive and intense,” she says.

“For those Para athletes already selected and those vying for selection, the next few months will see them intensively training and building towards Paris with countless hours in the gym, on the track, field, court or in the pool or arena. The NZ Paralympic Team will definitely give New Zealanders back at home something to talk about.”

On May 20, 100 days to the Paralympic Games, the Minister for Sport and Recreation, Chris Bishop, will meet with four-time Paralympian #164 Cameron Leslie MNZM, Paralympics New Zealand Chair Jana Rangooni, and CEO, Greg Warnecke and to mark the special milestone.

They will discuss the importance of the Paralympic Movement in transforming the lives of disabled people through Para sport.

“It will be great to have the opportunity to meet with Paralympian Cameron Leslie, Jana Rangooni and Greg Warnecke to discuss the upcoming Paris 2024 Paralympic Games. I look forward to hearing what they’re up to and to help celebrate 100 days to go,” the Minister says.

“I’m counting down the days until the NZ Paralympic Team take on the world and give us all the action to talk about in Paris.”

A multiple Paralympic champion and world record holder in the pool, Cameron Leslie has experienced many changes since he attended his first Paralympic Games in Beijing in 2008. For one, he’s now a husband and dad to three children, who will be cheering him on at his fourth Paralympics in Paris.

“I’ve seen a real change in the Paralympic Movement over the last 16 years and the much wider reach and influence it now has over society. And my own career has looked very different at each of my Paralympics,” says Leslie.

“The achievements of our high-performance athletes competing on the world stage truly showcase what’s possible. I encourage all Kiwis to support and watch the New Zealand Paralympic Team free-to-air with TVNZ – it will be an experience you’ll never forget.”

Para cyclist Devon Briggs is hoping to make his Paralympic debut in Paris and has been focussed on the best possible preparation and development through both national and international competition. In January 2022 he competed as his first Para Cycling Track World Championships and won 2 silver medals at this event. In the 2023 Cycling World Championships he followed it up with a haul of 4 bronze medals and most recently at the 2024 Para Cycling Track World Championships broke 3 world records and won a gold, silver and 2 bronze medals.

“I’ve been working so long to make this dream a reality and become a Paralympian. I was 13 days too young and was not eligible for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, so I am very motivated for Paris 2024,” Briggs says.

The NZ Paralympic Team will continue to grow over the coming weeks with selection announcements expected across a variety of Para sports. To date, five Para swimmers, four Para athletics athletes, a Para table tennis player and a Para equestrian rider and horse combination have been named in the NZ Paralympic Team so far.

In a break from tradition, the Opening Ceremony will be held outside the confines of a stadium for the first time – parading between the Champs-Élysées and Place de la Concorde – celebrating 4,400 of the world’s outstanding Paralympians and Para athletes, and the unique spirit of the Paralympic Games.  

The Paralympic Games competition schedule, which includes 22 Para sports and 549 events, begins on 28 August and runs through until 8 September. It will feature a record number of medal events for female athletes (eight more than at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games), and more competition opportunities for athletes with high support needs.

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