Para athlete profile: Joe Smith
Name: Joe Smith
Born: 5 September 1997
Home Town: Auckland
Chosen Sport: Para athletics
Coach: Hamish Meacheam
Eligible impairment: hypertonia
Health condition: right side hemiplegia
Joe Smith is a 25-year-old Para athlete from Auckland, New Zealand. He was born in Leeds, Northern England and relocated to Auckland with his family when he was around 9 or 10 years old. He had multiple strokes just days before he was born which triggered cerebral palsy.
Joe Smith got into Para athletics after a co-worker made an unkind comment to him about his disability. This caused a change of attitude in Joe and he decided to get in contact with Paralympics New Zealand, who referred him to Parafed Auckland. They asked if he would like to try Para athletics.
Initially, he was put in contact with Paralympic medallist and Athletics New Zealand throws coach John Eden. It soon became apparent that his future would not lie as a thrower but as a sprinter.
Joe has been a consistent performer on the domestic Para athletics scene for several years. Last year, the Para athlete won silver medals in the men’s open Para 100m and 200m at the Jennian Homes New Zealand Track & Field Championships in Hastings. He also placed sixth in the 100m and fourth in the 200m at the open men’s Para races at the Oceania Area Championships in Mackay, Australia.
In 2023, Joe was selected to represent New Zealand in the Para Athletics World Championships in Paris. At his World Championships debut, he was thrilled to earn a place in the final of the T37 100m, setting a new PB of 12.08 as he did so. In the final, he ran the second fastest performance of his career to place 8th.
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