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News posted on Friday 12th April, 2024

Fab four announced in initial Para athletics selection for Paralympic Games

4 athletes with the names and their Paralympian numbers

Paralympics New Zealand (PNZ) have unveiled a team of four Para athletics athletes to compete as part of the New Zealand Paralympic Team in their first selection announcement for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.

Paralympian #183 Holly Robinson, Paralympian #195 Anna Grimaldi, Paralympian #208 Will Stedman and Mitch Joynt, who is set to make his Paralympic debut, will all feature in the event in the French capital from 28 August – 8 September 2024.

The vastly experienced Dunedin-based thrower Holly Robinson, who competes in both the women’s javelin F46 and women’s shot put F46, is excited to compete at her fourth Paralympic Games. Making her Paralympic debut as a 17-year-old at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, four years later she was selected as flag bearer of the New Zealand Paralympic team at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, winning a silver medal in the women’s javelin F46.

At the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games she memorably went one place higher on the podium as a clutch sixth round throw of 40.99m catapulted her to gold.

Robinson faces a different challenge in Paris. For the first time she has won selection in two events – the women’s javelin F46 and shot put F46 events. As defending champion in the former event, she will once again be among the leading podium contenders, but Robinson also harbours high hopes in the shot put F46 after winning a silver medal in that event at the 2023 Para Athletics World Championships in Paris.

She is joined on the team by Anna Grimaldi (Dunedin), who is seeking a hat-trick of Paralympic titles in the women’s long jump T47. The 27-year-old athlete first burst on to the international stage as a teenage athlete when claiming a stunning gold medal success at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

Grimaldi then backed this up to retain her title with a dominant display at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. She will once again be among the leading names after setting a national record of 5.96m when winning long jump T47 silver in a captivating final at the 2023 Para Athletics World Championships.

Following his selection in the men’s 400m T36 and long jump T36, Will Stedman is set to make his third Paralympic appearance, hoping to add to his collection of four Paralympic medals. As a 16-year-old, Stedman claimed a pair of bronze medals in the 400m and 800m T36 finals at the Rio 2016 Paralympics before the versatile athlete returned to compete at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games – grabbing long jump T36 silver and 400m T36 bronze medals.

Last year at the Para Athletics World Championships in Paris, the Christchurch-based athlete further underlined his medal-winning ability by taking silver medals in the 400m T36 and long jump T36.

The initial selection team is rounded out by Paralympic debutant Mitch Joynt, who competes in the men’s 200m T64. Auckland-based Joynt made his international debut at the 2019 Para Athletics World Championships in Dubai and currently holds New Zealand records for the 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m T64. The 29-year-old made his international breakthrough at the 2023 Para Athletics World Championships in Paris when winning the 200m T64 bronze medal in an Oceania record of 23.32.

Robinson said:

“I am delighted to gain selection for my fourth Paralympic Games, and I can’t wait to compete in Paris, where I hope to perform to my best. This will be my first Paralympic Games competing across two events and while that presents a new challenge, I’m excited about the prospect of taking to both the javelin runway and shot put circle in Paris.”

Stedman said:

“I have been blessed to have enjoyed two fabulous experiences in both Rio and Tokyo and I can’t wait to see what my third Paralympic Games has in store. I have been pleased with how my training has progressed and I hope to be able to execute the performances I know I am capable of in both the 400m and long jump competitions.”

Raylene Bates, the Chef de Mission of the NZ Paralympic Team, said:

“The initial selection for Para athletics is brimming with both quality and experience and all will be relishing the opportunity to compete. Watching the athletes perform will make for compelling viewing both for those Kiwi fans in Paris and those watching from afar in New Zealand. I am optimistic of a positive showing in the French capital.”

Greg Warnecke, Paralympics NZ CEO, said:

“We’re thrilled to be celebrating Holly, Will, Anna and Mitch as the first Para athletes to be selected to the New Zealand Paralympic Team for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games. As the first of several team announcements to come over the coming months, this is a phenomenal start to forming the NZ Paralympic Team for Paris.”

Cam Mitchell, Athletics NZ CE, said:

“We are very excited by the quality of the athletes selected, all of whom are proven medal winners on the global stage. We are confident that the quartet will compete with pride in the black singlet, and we can’t wait to see them perform in the red-hot furnace of competition at the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.”

***The final athletics selection announcement for the 2024 Paris Paralympic Games will be made by Wednesday 12 June. There may be a further allocation of unused quota spots as distributed by World Para Athletics. Should any additional athletes be selected as a result of this, we will announce this by Friday 19 July. 

***A Para athlete only becomes a Paralympian after competing at the Paralympic Games – hence Mitch Joynt is yet to receive an official Paralympian number.

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