Experienced team to represent NZ in World Shooting Para Sport Championships
- 3 Para athletes have been selected to represent New Zealand at the 2023 World Shooting Para Sport Championships:
- Paralympian #148 Michael Johnson
- The September event is a critical step towards the three Kiwis winning a quota and earning minimum qualifying scores for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.
Experience marks the three-strong New Zealand Shooting Para Sport Team selected for the 2023 World Championships (Lima, Peru, 18-29 September). The shooters have over 30 years of international competition experience between them.
5-time Paralympian Michael Johnson headlines the team. Mike will be looking to ensure he gets to represent New Zealand a sixth time through his performance in Lima. He explains the significance of this World Championships:
“The anticipation and excitement surrounding this event are palpable. The Lima World Shooting Para Sport Championships are a gateway for the New Zealand Shooting Para Sport Team to etch our names in history. Competing there, we have the chance to secure a coveted quota for Paris 2024. It’s not only a chance to represent New Zealand with pride. Having the Team reach this level is a testament to the inclusivity and empowerment of Para sport.”
The talented shooter also leads the sport in New Zealand, working for Paralympics New Zealand as Shooting Para Sport Lead. Mike, who has a spinal cord injury from a motor accident, has competed in air rifle events at World Championships since 2006.
Paralympian #204 Greg Reid returns to compete at his first World Championships since 2019. The 61-year-old athlete is keen to show that he’s still got the drive to win, saying:
“What I find so rewarding about Shooting Para sport is that there’s no discrimination. As long as I can see the target, I’ll be doing everything I can to hit that damn little spot”.
Greg, who is an amputee, secured his qualifying score in the Changwon 2023 WSPS World Cup in May. This allows him to compete in both the R3 (10m air rifle prone) and R6 (50m air rifle prone) events. Greg’s proudest moment in his sport was an outstanding performance in Rio 2016 where he made his first ever Paralympic Games final and finished 7th in a hotly competed event. As well as this, Greg has represented New Zealand in 4 World Championships since 2010.
Para athlete Neelam O’Neill wants to be the first woman to represent New Zealand in the air pistol at the Paralympic Games. With that drive behind her, she will be hoping to earn her slot for Paris 2024 when she’s in Lima. The Whangārei local, who has spina bifida, competes in both air rifle and air pistol. Neelam previously competed in World Championships in 2019 and 2022. She missed out on the opportunity to qualify for Tokyo 2020 due to COVID restrictions.
All three athletes shoot for the Parafed Auckland Shooting Club.
About the 2023 World Shooting Para Sport Championships
Peru’s capital Lima will host the 2023 World Shooting Para Sport (WSPS) Championships, marking the first time that the event takes take place in the Americas.
Competition will be at the Las Palmas Air Base. Around 300 athletes from more than 50 countries will compete at the World Championships.
The New Zealand Shooting Para Sport Team
|Para athlete||Class||Hometown||Competing in|
|Paralympian #148 Michael Johnson||SH2||Waiuku||R4 10m mixed Air Rifle standing
R5 10m mixed Air Rifle prone
R9 50m mixed Rifle prone
|Para athlete Neelam O'Neill||SH1||Whangārei||P2 10m women's Air pistol
R3 10m mixed Air Rifle prone
|Paralympian #204 Greg Reid||SH1||Featherston||R3 10m mixed Air Rifle prone
R6 50m mixed Rifle prone
How does classification work in Shooting Para sport?
Shooting Para sport is the sport of shooting for Para athletes who have a physical impairment
leading to reduced function in the lower and/or upper limbs.
Classification provides the structure for fair and equitable competition to ensure that winning is determined by skill, fitness, power, endurance, tactical ability and mental focus. Classification groups Para athletes into a sport class according to the degree of activity limitation resulting from their impairment. In Shooting Para sport, there are three different sport classes:
SPORT CLASS SH1 (PISTOL)
Para athletes with upper and/or lower limb impairment competing in pistol events are in the SH1 class.
SPORT CLASS SH1 (RIFLE)
This sport class is designated to Para athletes with lower limb impairment for competition in rifle events.
SPORT CLASS SH2 (RIFLE)
This sport class is for rifle events only, and is designated to Para athletes with upper limb impairment (which necessitates them to use a shooting stand to support the rifle), all or not in combination with lower limb impairment.