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News posted on Thursday 1st July, 2021

Para athlete Ben Tuimaseve selected to the New Zealand Paralympic Team for Tokyo 2020

Ben Tuimaseve and his family at the NZ Paralympic Team selection announcement for Tokyo 2020

Para athlete Ben Tuimaseve has been selected by Paralympics New Zealand (PNZ) to the New Zealand Paralympic Team heading to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games which begin on 24 August. The announcement was made in Auckland at AUT Millennium today and marks the fifth group of Para athletes to be announced to the New Zealand Paralympic Team.

Tuimaseve first picked up a shot put in late 2016. At the time he had a desire to do something for himself and see if he had potential to make it to the top. 

Three years later, Tuimaseve made his international Para athletics debut at the Oceania Athletics Championships in Townsville, Australia in 2019. He was then selected to represent New Zealand at the World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai later that year, where he placed 12th in the Men’s Shot Put F37. 

On his return to New Zealand, he underwent surgery on his ankle, which left him unable to compete in the Summer 2020 athletics season. The postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games provided much needed additional time to the South Auckland-based shot putter, to recover and resume his training. Tuimaseve fought his way back into impressive form in 2021, producing successive national record-breaking performances over the summer season. 

Tuimaseve includes music in his training regime, to help with his rhythm and timing. Outside of Para athletics, he has competed in the Physical Disability Rugby League New Zealand competition and represented New Zealand at the 20118 Rugby League Emerging Nations World Championships in Australia.

Para athlete Ben Tuimaseve said: “’The waiting got pretty intense but it’s a good feeling knowing you have earned the right to wear the fern. Yes, I put in the work and only I make the team but there’s so many people that help make that possible, so with this chance it’s time to work and represent the best I can.“

Paula Tesoriero (Chef de Mission, NZ Paralympic Team) said, “We are thrilled to welcome Ben to the New Zealand Paralympic Team, and I look forward to seeing him perform and thrive in the team environment alongside new and experienced Paralympians in Tokyo.“

Fiona Allan (Chief Executive, PNZ) said, “It is fantastic to announce Ben’s selection today to represent New Zealand at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Ben will now join the 6 Para athletics athletes announced earlier in May, bringing the Para athletics team to 7 in total.“

Peter Pfitzinger (Chief Executive, Athletics New Zealand) said: “After being unable to train in early 2020 due to injury, Ben has shown such determination on his return to competition in 2021. He has never given up on his dream of making the New Zealand Paralympic Team for Tokyo 2020, and on behalf of the New Zealand athletics community I would like to congratulate Ben on his selection.”

The New Zealand Paralympic Team has competed in Para athletics at every Paralympic Games since Kiwis first competed at Tel Aviv 1968. Over this time Para athletics athletes in the New Zealand Paralympic Team have won a staggering 89 medals across 13 Paralympic Games.

The addition of Tuimaseve takes the New Zealand Paralympic Team to 21 selected Para athletes to date, with selections pending for up to another 3 Para sports over the coming months. The eventual team is expected to include up to 35 Para athletes in total. During April and May, Paralympians Cameron Leslie, Nikita Howarth, Tupou Neiufi, Sophie Pascoe and Jesse Reynolds were selected in Para swimming; and Paralympian Cameron Leslie and Para athletes Hayden Barton-Cootes, Cody Everson, Robert Hewitt, Tainafi Lefono, Gareth Lynch, Gavin Rolton and Mike Todd in Wheelchair rugby; Paralympians Holly Robinson, Caitlin Dore, Anna Grimaldi, William Stedman and Para athletes Lisa Adams and Danielle Aitchison in Para athletics; followed by Paralympian Scott Martlew and Para athlete Corbin Hart in Para canoe.

The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will be held from Tuesday 24 August to Sunday 5 September 2021 and will include 22 Para sports on the event schedule and up to 4,400 Paralympians competing. The Paralympic Games is the largest event worldwide for driving social change and inclusion. 

Para athletes selected to the New Zealand Paralympic Team are:

Para athleteResidesClassificationImpairment (Disability)CoachClub
Ben TuimaseveAucklandF37Cerebral palsyParalympian #31 John EdenOwairaka Amateur Athletic and Harrier Club

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