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News posted on Wednesday 7th September, 2016

Holly Robinson selected as flag bearer as New Zealand Paralympic Team officially welcomed in Rio

Holly Robinson Chosen as Flag Bearer

Paralympian Holly Robinson has been selected to lead the New Zealand Rio 2016 Paralympic Games Team into the Maracanã Stadium this Thursday morning 8 September 2016 (New Zealand time), as the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games prepares to get underway in Brazil.

The announcement came as the New Zealand flag was officially raised in the Paralympic Village and the Team assembled to receive a special pounamu taonga, gifted by Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu. The 31-strong Team become the latest additions to an expected global contingent of 4,350 athletes from 160 countries, gathering to compete in the world’s largest multi-sport event for disabled athletes. New Zealand will contest six Para-Sports, chasing a target of 18 medals in total, including 12 gold medals.

The 21-year-old Hokitika native, currently number one in the world in the Women’s Javelin F46, was overwhelmed to be named. She said: “I feel so privileged and humbled to be named as the flag bearer for the New Zealand Paralympic Team. I am so excited to lead the team and to know that all our supporters, especially my family, are watching us will make the honour extraordinarily special.“ Coincidentally, the pounamu taonga gifted to the team was sourced from Arahura River near Hokitika.

Robinson has a long and proud history in Para-Athletics, trying it for the first time at the age of 7. By 12, Robinson had competed in her first international event for New Zealand. In 2011, as a 16-year-old, Robinson made the decision to fully commit to her dream of becoming a Paralympian, accepting a scholarship to train in Dunedin under well respected Para-Athletics coach, Raylene Bates. The move proved to be a pivotal one. Robinson rose immediately through the international rankings and was selected to the New Zealand London 2012 Paralympic Games Team by 17, finishing seventh. Her current position of world number one makes Robinson a very strong contender for a medal in Rio.

Despite a hectic schedule while training and qualifying for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, Robinson also found time to give back to her local community. She spent 6 weeks coaching and supporting the ParaFed Otago athletics team that competed in the 2016 Halberg Junior Disability Games and travelled to Cambridge to manage the team herself during the competition in April. She is an active committee member of ParaFed Otago, the regional body responsible for disability sport in the local area and also helps coach the Taieri Athletics Junior section. Robinson was selected to the New Zealand Rio 2016 Paralympic Games Team in May and is part of an 8-member Para-Athletics team.

Robinson recently said: “I believe that it is important to give back to those individuals, organisations and communities that have given me opportunities and supported my sporting journey. But also, I want to show young people that there is a pathway and opportunity for everyone to get into sport.“

Ben Lucas, Rio 2016 Chef de Mission, said: “I could not be more delighted or proud to announce Holly Robinson as the New Zealand flag bearer. Holly is a truly inspirational role model. Not only does she give it everything she has on the field, but she goes above and beyond in her local community as well. As an ambassador for Para-Sport, she is simply outstanding. Add to that, all going well, Holly is on track to be one of New Zealand’s stand-out performers during the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.“

The Opening Ceremony of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games will take place on Thursday morning 8 September (New Zealand time), with live coverage beginning at 9am on DUKE. Viewers can catch the Team in action throughout the Games on DUKE and together with ONE News coverage, a special highlights programme will air every night on TV ONE and will be available online through TVNZ OnDemand and Further details

The full New Zealand Rio 2016 Paralympic Team is:

 Para-AthleteResides / HometownClassificationImpairment (Disability)
PARA-ATHLETICSCaitlin DoreDunedin / ChristchurchF37 (field)Hypertonia (Cerebral Palsy)
Anna GrimaldiDunedin / DunedinT47 (track & field)Single limb deficiency
Jessica HamillDunedin / InvercargillF34 (field)Hypertonia (Cerebral Palsy)
Liam MaloneAuckland / NelsonT43 (track)Double limb deficiency
Rory McSweeneyDunedin / WellingtonF44 (field)Single limb deficiency
Jacob PhillipsDunedin / HamiltonT35 (track)Hypertonia (Cerebral Palsy)
Holly RobinsonDunedin / HokitikaF/T46 (field)Single limb deficiency
William StedmanChristchurch / ChristchurchT36 (track & field)Ataxia (Cerebral Palsy)
PARA-CANOEScott MartlewChristchurch / ChristchurchKL3Single limb deficiency
PARA-CYCLINGAmanda CameronWellington / WellingtonBVIVisual impairment
Emma FoyCambridge / DargavilleBVIVisual impairment
Stephen HillsNew Plymouth / New PlymouthT2Right side hemiplegic (Paralysis)
Kate HoranWellington / WellingtonC4Single limb deficiency
Byron RaubenheimerAuckland / South AfricaC4Single limb deficiency
Fraser SharpTauranga / TaurangaC3Ataxia (Neurological)
Laura ThompsonAuckland / Christchurchn/a (Sighted pilot)n/a
Hannah van KampenCambridge / Hawkes Bayn/a (Sighted pilot)n/a
PARA-SHOOTINGJason EalesHamilton/DurbanSH2CLoss of muscle power
(Spinal cord injury)
Michael JohnsonAuckland/AucklandSH2CLoss of muscle power (Tetraplegia)
Greg ReidWairarapa/ChristchurchSH1Single limb deficiency
PARA-SWIMMINGRebecca DubberAuckland / AucklandS7, SB6, SM7Loss of muscle power (Paraplegia)
Mary FisherAuckland / WellingtonS11, SB11, SM11Visual impairment
Nikita HowarthCambridge / CambridgeS7, SB8, SM7Double limb deficiency
Cameron LeslieAuckland / WhangareiS5, SM4Quadruple limb deficiency
Hamish McLeanWanaka / WanakaS6, SB6, SM6Short stature (Achondroplasia)
Tupou NeiufiAuckland / AucklandS9, SB8, SM9Hypertonia (Left side hemiplegia)
Sophie PascoeChristchurch / ChristchurchS10, SB9, SM10Single limb deficiency
Jesse ReynoldsAuckland / HamiltonS9, SB9, SM9Single limb deficiency


– Para-Athlete biographies can be found at

– To support Paralympics New Zealand, please visit

– Paralympics New Zealand (PNZ)is affiliated to the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) as the National Paralympic Committee (NPC) for New Zealand. PNZ are one of 170 NPC’s worldwide, responsible for supporting and growing Paralympic Sports in their countries. PNZ is a charity overseeing up to 22 Paralympic Sports disciplines and delivery of the High Performance Sports Programme within a number of disciplines.PNZ prepares, selects and leads New Zealand teams to international competitions and the Paralympic Games. PNZ works with athletes, members, partners and government agencies to inspire those living with a disability in New Zealand society and increase awareness, understanding and acceptance of disability amongst the wider public. PNZ relies on donations, government and support from business.

– The Spirit of Gold® Initiative. This is an award-winning long-term campaign to increase awareness and raise funds to support the Para-Athletes currently on the road to Rio 2016 and beyond. Secondly, to invest in the development of Para-Sport across New Zealand.

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