Posted on Friday 10th September, 2021

Paralympian #183 Holly Robinson has today been announced as the global winner of The Visa Award for her moment of gratitude at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Her act of thanking the officials following her victory in the Women’s Javelin F46 captured the admiration of fans as they showed their support by voting. Robinson was up against 5 other incredible moments from around the globe.

Robinson said: “I am so stoked to win The Visa Award based on my moment of gratitude towards the officials in Tokyo. I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who voted for me and I know this is going to have a huge impact for my chosen charity which I look forward to announcing in a few weeks. Thank you to The Visa Award for spreading the aroha celebrating the values of inclusion, acceptance, courage and friendship. I also want to say a huge thank you to everyone involved in Tokyo 2020. Everyone put on an amazing Paralympics and as athletes we are truly thankful that we got our chance to shine on the big stage. Thank you so much to the volunteers, officials and organisers for putting on what was such an awesome Paralympic Games.”

Robinson kept us all in suspense on 3 September when she stepped up to take her final throw and threw a gold medal winning 40.99m in the Women’s Javelin F46. At the conclusion of the event she was the only Paralympian who thanked the officials for their hard work and contribution. This had such an impact and meant so much that two technical officials sought out the New Zealand Paralympic Team Press Attaché to ensure they were aware of this wonderful act by Robinson. Further to this a number of Para athletics athletes in the New Zealand Paralympic Team thanked technical officials after each of their events at Tokyo 2020. The two particular technical officials that sought out our Press Attaché were Okry Nonvignon and Ernesta Strydom.

This act by Paralympian Holly Robinson was above and beyond competition and ensured that the technical officials that make a huge contribution to the success of the Paralympic Games were acknowledged.

Fiona Allan (Chief Executive, Paralympics New Zealand) said: “Technical officials could be referred to as the ”unsung heroes”. Their absolute commitment and unselfish dedication and hard work is often very much behind the scenes. They are often not recognised for their contribution to ensure the smooth running of events. Holly’s actions uplifted the officials so much that they felt incredibly valued and appreciated. This will be a moment that the officials will hold onto with pride and may share with others for a long time to come. While it may seem a relatively small gesture to thank someone, the ripple effects of what may sometimes be considered a small gesture can, as this has shown, be extraordinary.”

“New Zealand had 11 officials selected to attend the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games across 7 Para sports and anti-doping. I wish to specifically acknowledge and thank all 11 officials for their contribution to a successful Paralympics.”

Through Holly’s actions both on and off the field of competition she exemplifies the Paralympic values of determination, equality, inspiration and courage. This act of inclusion, care and kindness was something that came so naturally to Holly and the wider Para athletics athletes within the New Zealand Paralympic Team.

The Visa Award has highlighted moments from the Paralympics that rise above the competition and celebrate friendship, inclusion, acceptance, and courage. Robinson has won the opportunity to choose an eligible charity to which Visa will donate $50,000 USD, in an effort to directly impact the community and promote equality and inclusion. Her selection will be announced in the coming weeks.