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News posted on Wednesday 14th September, 2016

Medals continue to flow gold and silver for New Zealand Paralympic Team in Rio

Nikita Howarth wins gold

New Zealand wins 1 GOLD and 2 SILVER on Day 6, taking medal tally to 16 overall

New Zealand results to date:

OVERALL

· 6th in the world overall on medal table, leap-frogging over Australia today

· 8 gold medals, ahead of the 7 gold medals secured by Australia to date

· 1st in the world per capita for medals

8 GOLD

3 – Sophie Pascoe

1 – Nikita Howarth

1 – Liam Malone

1 – Cameron Leslie

1 – Mary Fisher

1 – Anna Grimaldi

5 SILVER

2 – Sophie Pascoe

1 – Holly Robinson

1 – Liam Malone

1 – Emma Foy & Laura Thompson

3 BRONZE

1 – Nikita Howarth

1 – Rory McSweeney

1 – Rebecca Dubber

16 TOTAL

Highlights from Rio today:

  • GOLD – Nikita Howarth, Women’s 200m Individual Medley SM7 Final
  • SILVER – Sophie Pascoe, Women’s 100m Freestyle S10 Final
  • SILVER – Holly Robinson, Women’s Javelin F46 Final
  • Sophie Pascoe breaks clear of Eve Rimmer’s total medal tally of 14, with 15 (9 gold; 6 silver
  • 7th – Hamish McLean, in his first ever Paralympic Final at 16-years-old, Men’s 400m Freestyle S6

The river of gold and silver continued to flow in Rio today, with New Zealand picking up another three Paralympic medals. The highlight was a commanding GOLD from 17-year-old Nikita Howarth, with two epic clashes for Sophie Pascoe and Holly Robinson each leading to well-earned SILVER medals.

The New Zealand Paralympic Games Team now has 16 MEDALS in total, 8 GOLD, 5 SILVER and 3 BRONZE. This total takes it to within 2 medals of its overall target of 18 medals at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, and to within 4 medals of its target to reach 12 gold medals. With 4 days still left of competition, the team believes meeting the targets are possible, although all athletes will need to push to their absolute limits. The success of the team as a whole has certainly been inspirational for today’s medallists; all talked about their joy for their team-mates as helping give them that extra boost.

Overall, as the day winds to a close and the temperature still sits at stifling 37 degrees, the fact that New Zealand has jumped Australia on the medal table to 6th will likely be a conversation topic tonight!

PARA-SWIMMING

Nikita Howarth

Paralympian Nikita Howarth put in a phenomenal swim today in Rio de Janeiro, to pick up her second medal of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games – a GOLD in the Women’s 200m Individual Medley SM7. This result follows hard on the heels of her performance yesterday, which saw Howarth collect her first ever Paralympic medal, a BRONZE in the Women’s 50m Butterfly S7. At just 13 years old, Howarth became New Zealand’s youngest ever Paralympian at the London 2012 Paralympic Games

Howarth did the business today in 2:57.29, 5 seconds ahead of Tess Routliffe (Canada) and 7 seconds ahead of Courtney Jordan (USA). She went into the finals after taking a commanding lead in her heat today, to qualify fastest for the final in a time of 2:58.82, 4.5 seconds faster than her rivals.

Howarth said: “It feels a lot different to come first in a race compared to coming third, but I do quite like both feelings – bronze and gold, I can’t ask for more than that! It feels amazing to win medals in Rio, compared to London where I was still young. I have been going from strength-to-strength in training so when I come into a big competition I can smash it, so I am really happy. When I see how well everyone else on the team is doing, it just buzzes me up and gets me going, because it’s so exciting seeing other New Zealand team members getting gold – I’m like wow, that’s so cool, that’s where I am from.“

Sophie Pascoe

Sophie Pascoe won her last event at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, taking out the SILVER in the Women’s 100m Freestyle S10 in Rio de Janeiro in a time of 59.85, just five tenths behind Aurelie Rivard (Canada) in the gold medal position, and well over a second ahead of third placed Elodie Lorandi (France). Pascoe qualified second behind Rivard earlier today, with the Canadian Para-Swimmer having to set a Paralympic record in the heats and then again in the Finals to beat Pascoe.

Yesterday, Pascoe matched New Zealand Paralympian Eve Rimmer’s record of 14 Paralympic medals. Her gold in the Women’s 100m Butterfly S10 edged her ahead of Rimmer by merit of having 1 more gold medal. However, tonight’s result takes her free and clear, as the most successful Paralympian New Zealand has ever produced, with a stunning 15 Paralympic medals: 9 gold, 6 silver.

The win also continues her absolute domination of the pool here in Rio, making her total medal count 3 GOLD and 2 SILVER. Pascoe also took out New Zealand’s 200th Paralympic medal early this week.

Pascoe said: “As you see, it’s a good fight, the old 100 free, and I think it’s really exciting that we’ve got an amazing rivalry and friendship between us girls out there. Aurelie was the better person on the day. I gave it everything, I’ve left everything out in that last race and that’s all I can give. To be able to back up race after race in 5 days, which equals 10 races, is pretty challenging in itself. To be honest I am happy with how its ended. It may not be the gold but it’s been a tough week and it’s been an amazing week also. And a bit of an emotional rollercoaster as well. But that’s what you expect out of our Paralympic Games, you know. You are at the pinnacle of the pinnacle and you get to race with the peak. I’m just glad it’s finished!“

Hamish McLean

Following his very near miss yesterday, New Zealand’s second youngest Paralympian, 16-year-old Hamish McLean, made his first ever Paralympic Final today. McLean who took nearly 5 seconds off his personal best in a time of 5:22.88 to qualify 6th fastest for the Men’s 200m Freestyle S6. McLean then swam to 7th overall in the Final, a few seconds slower than his heat, in a time of 5:22.88.

McLean said: “I am pretty overwhelmed right now, very happy and so stoked to be here and represent New Zealand. I hope they think I have done them proud and Wanaka as well. This has been such a big learning curve for me and for the rest of my swimming career. I hope to take this experience, learn from it and perform even better in Tokyo 2020.“

Tupou Neiufi

Following her Paralympic debut yesterday, New Zealand’s youngest team member, 15-year-old Tupou Neiufi, made her second appearance, this time finishing 5th in the Women’s 50m Freestyle S9 in a time of 31.37, not qualifying for her final. Neiufi continues to make great progress here in Rio.

PARA-ATHLETICS

Holly Robinson

New Zealand’s flag bearer Holly Robinson was in personal best form as she won silver in the Women’s Javelin F46 at Athletics Stadium in Rio. Robinson threw a massive personal best of 41.22m on her fifth attempt to secure the silver medal. She proudly took the New Zealand flag once again from her supporters, and held it high as she celebrated her success. The gold was won by Holly Arnold (Great Britain) with a world record throw of 43.01m.

Robinson said: “It felt awesome out there. I warmed up really well and was feeling really good. I opened up with a good distance which I was happy with, I wanted to start off like that and just built on it. It felt great to be out there and the crowd was awesome. The Brazilian crowds really get behind the competitors here and I loved it.“

PARA-SHOOTING

Michael Johnson

Four-time Paralympian, Para-Shooter Michael Johnson, was back in action today at the Olympic Shooting Range in Deodoro, in the qualifying rounds for his second event of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, the R5 – Mixed 10m Air Rifle Prone SH2. Disappointingly, Johnson did not qualify for the Final despite spending the majority of the first part of session in the Top 3. One poor round sent him to the back of the field and he was unable to recover from it. It was the end to a very disappointing campaign for the 3-time Paralympic medallist, including gold medallist at the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games, who went out of his other event earlier this week after an equipment malfunction on his rifle.

Johnson said: “So I started off and I was feeling pretty confident after the last couple of days of training. I changed to my back-up rifle because I was a bit worried, as my first rifle was having some technical problems. So I changed to my back-up; that’s going great. I started off awesome, little bit nervous, feeling a bit hot, but I just slowly got into the groove and was cruising along and then – one of my shots, I was just holding on for a bit too long. So rather than just trying to take your shot, you pull away and then start again – re-set. But just as I pulled away, my finger bumped the trigger and I shot a 3. Once you shoot a shot that low, it’s really difficult to come back. It’s a very tough field and there are a lot of top shooters that are out. But I was pretty confident that I would have been in the final, but it’s not to be. Now it’s about looking forward, I have Tokyo in my sights. I’ll start again.“

Jason Eales

Meanwhile, Paralympic debutant Jason Eales shot in the same event, finishing in 17th of 34 – a superb effort for the rookie. He did not make the Final.

“It is such an honour to compete here in Rio and to now be a New Zealand Paralympian. I was quite relieved when it was over to be honest as we have had such a long build up to get to this point. I felt really calm and focussed. There were a few times when my focus was fading, but I just focussed on the process and came back into it again. I was hoping for top eight but what I achieved now is great and I am really happy with placing 17th out of 34 shooters on my debut. I am definitely keen to compete in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics and to have this experience in Rio behind me will be a huge advantage at my second Paralympic Games.“

PARA-SAILING

Andrew May, Rick Dodson and Chris Sharp

Following on from their superb first day on the water yesterday to finish 2nd, Andrew May, Rick Dodson and Chris Sharp faced a challenging day today, as the conditions deteriorated and only 1 of 2 races scheduled went ahead. The second was postponed until tomorrow to make a busy day, with three back-to-back races. The kiwis were doing quite well initially, but dropped to 6th position, which still leaves them 4th place behind Australia, Canada and Greece with 7 races to go before the medals.

Double Paralympian, Andrew May said: “It was a really long day today, a lot of waiting around for the conditions to improve. Once we were on the water, it was a very interesting afternoon of racing. We felt really good and had a good run down and back, but then the wind changed and the other boats that had chosen a different route benefited and we didn’t. But that’s the sport! One thing we are very grateful for was all the extra training we did with the tides in Waitemata Harbour, as we’ve been able to bring a lot of that experience over to Guanabara Bay.“

WHAT’S ON TOMORROW

Late call-up, Para-Canoeist Scott Martlew makes his first appearance at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games tomorrow in the Men’s 200m KL3. The Para-Cyclists move to the road section of the Games. Gold medallist Nikita Howarth and Bronze medallist Rebecca Dubber will be back in the pool again and Greg Reid will compete as the last of the Para-Shooters. The Para-Sailors will have a 3-race day.

  • Para-Swimmers:          Nikita Howarth, Rebecca Dubber
  • Para-Cyclists: Kate Horan, Fraser Sharp, Emma Foy & Laura Thompson, Amanda Cameron & Hannah van Kampen, Stephen Hills
  • Para-Shooters:             Greg Reid
  • Para-Athletics:              Liam Malone, Jessica Hamill
  • Para-Canoeist:              Scott Martlew
  • Para-Sailors: Chris Sharp, Andrew May and Rick Dodson

The 31-strong New Zealand Paralympic Games Team will compete at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games between 8-19 September 2016 NZT, with a mighty global contingent of 4,350 other athletes from 160 countries. The Paralympics is 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.

Where can kiwis watch our Paralympians in action?

Views can catch the New Zealand Paralympic Team in action at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games by tuning into DUKE on Freeview 13, Sky 23 or online at www.tvnz.co.nz/duke (find daily schedule here: www.tvnz.co.nz/paralympics2016/schedule), by watching the daily highlights programme on TV1 at 9.30pm, or by visiting www.tvnz.co.nz/ondemand/paralympics to watch on demand. Results will also be shown on ONE News, Breakfast and Seven Sharp. Additionally, coverage can be found by visiting the Paralympics website: www.paralympic.org.

In addition to this and as a result of huge public interest in New Zealand TVNZ has created a second live stream so you can choose between the coverage of DUKE or live Para-Swimming or Para-Athletics action:

https://www.tvnz.co.nz/ondemand/paralympics-swimming AND

https://www.tvnz.co.nz/ondemand/paralympics-athletics

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