Posted on Wednesday 9th August, 2023

Paralympics New Zealand (PNZ) has appointed a leader with an exceptional pedigree in sport to lead the NZ Paralympic Team at the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games. Athletics New Zealand High Performance Programme Para Lead and Coach Raylene Bates MNZM will be Chef de Mission for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games.

Bates has provided strategic and operational leadership for Para athletics throughout New Zealand since 2014. She is thrilled to be appointed as Chef de Mission, saying:

“Paris 2024 is shaping up to be a truly memorable Paralympics for New Zealand. I can’t wait to lead a performance-focused and inspirational New Zealand Paralympic Team.”

She continues:

“It’s a role I’ve dreamt of holding for a long time. It’s such a privilege. The Chef de Mission sets the tone for the Team, and that means I can help to ensure a positive and supportive environment and team culture. That in turn allows Para athletes, coaches and support staff to focus entirely on achieving their high performance goals.”

Bates holds countless honours and recognitions for her work in sport, including Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM). The hard-working coach and programme leader serves on several HPSNZ advisory groups. She is based in Ōtepoti Dunedin.

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The Paris 2024 Paralympic Games are 28 August to 8 September 2024. 4,400 of the world’s preeminent Para athletes will converge on the city. The programme includes 22 sports and 549 events. Following the motto “Games Wide Open,” organisers have reinvented the template for a Games Opening Ceremony. They have organised a showstopping celebration away from the traditional stadium setting – right in the heart of Paris.

Gracey and Raylene stand in front of a picture of Paralympians
Deputy Chef de Mission Lynette Grace and Chef de Mission Raylene Bates

PNZ Games Campaign and Sports Manager Lynette Grace will serve as Deputy Chef de Mission. She also held this role at Tokyo 2020 and Beijing 2022. The appointment of the two highly experienced women leaders shows PNZ’s continued focus on women in sport leadership.

Grace believes that the performances this winter at the World Para Athletics Championships, World Para Swimming Championships, and Cycling World Championships bode well for the Paralympic Team:

“New Zealand’s legacy of performance at summer and winter Paralympic Games is not only world-beating, but more importantly, life-changing. As we’re seeing in this current winter of World Championships, our Para athletes are taking their performances well beyond the realm of the normal. Kiwis can expect the spectacular from their Paralympic Team this time next year.”

Moreover, she is excited about what Paris 2024 will deliver for New Zealand:

“Each edition of the Paralympic Games gets bigger and better in terms of the impact and the interest it generates from the New Zealand public. We’re talking about more than sport – the Paralympics are a unique opportunity to shine a spotlight on disability, inspire individuals, bring about social change, and promote inclusivity in Aotearoa New Zealand.”

PNZ expects to begin making Paralympic Team selection announcements in April 2024.