New Zealand Para athlete voice reaches global IPC Athletes’ Forum
New Zealand Paralympian #189 Carl Murphy recently attended the 2023 IPC Athletes’ Forum in South Korea as a representative of the PNZ Athletes’ Council. The biannual event brings together representatives from around the world to focus on joint strategies between athletes and the International Paralympic Committee. In 2023, the Korean Paralympic Committee hosted the event at the Incheon Paralympic Training Centre. New Zealand Paralympian #158 Adam Hall MNZM also attended, representing FIS (International Ski and Snowboard Federation).
“The PNZ Athletes’ Council provides a voice for a mix of Para athletes and Paralympians, including some that are still competing,” Murphy explained. “We want to ensure they can have their say in things that they see important to the athletes, their sport, and Paralympic Movement. The Athletes’ Council is also independent from PNZ so any potentially sensitive communications can be kept confidential if requested.”
Over the course of three days at the IPC Athletes’ Forum, the representatives discussed a wide range of topics. These included:
- health and wellbeing
- athlete leadership
- governance and engagement
- the Paralympic Games
- athletes with high support needs.
“All of these topics are important and relevant for New Zealand Para athletes as we all represent and shape the future of the Paralympic Movement,” Murphy said.
Being at the forum in person, the PNZ Athletes’ Council was able to make direct connections with other representatives from around the world.
“Networking, contributing, and learning from the forum builds relationships between all nations’ Athletes’ Councils and representatives that cannot be achieved at the same level via an online platform,” Murphy noted.
Murphy also spoke about his previous experiences in South Korea. He represented New Zealand in Para snowboarding at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Paralympics. On this visit he was struck once more by the hospitality of the Korean people and enjoyed the food.
The PNZ Athletes’ Council will have their next council meeting on Wednesday 12 July 2023. They will discuss a range of topics, including athlete engagement with the Council. The Council encourages Para athletes to get in contact via email or the Council Facebook page if they have any concerns or items they would like discussed.
“Big or small we will listen,” Murphy said.