Posted on Wednesday 24th February, 2021

Today Paralympics New Zealand (PNZ) celebrates six months to go until the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games with the appointment of the first wave of support staff to the New Zealand Paralympic Team.

The 8 highly skilled individuals will support Paralympians as part of the NZ Paralympic Team lead by New Zealand Chef de Mission, Paula Tesoriero.  

Tesoriero said: “The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games feels like a long time coming, and I am thrilled today to announce the dedicated and skilled group who will support our team throughout the 13-day event”. 

Included in this group and working alongside Tesoriero in leading the team will be Lynette Grace in her inaugural role as Deputy Chef de Mission. “I am excited to welcome Lynette Grace officially to the team. As PNZ’s Games Campaign and Sports Manager since 2014, Lynette’s diverse experience will be invaluable in supporting the wider New Zealand Paralympic Team and helping to create the best possible high-performance environment for our athletes to excel”. 

The role of the support staff in ensuring the mental and physical needs of the Kiwi contingent are met will be imperative in what will be a very different Paralympic Games for the New Zealand Paralympic Team.

The NZ Paralympic Team support staff include :

           
Lynette Grace               Deputy Chef de Mission
Simon Chatterton        Preparation and Recovery Manager 
Rod Corban                   Games Team Psychology Lead
Stephen Kara                Para Cycling Team Doctor
Jake Pearson                 Medical and Health Team Manager
Megan Munro               Para Cycling Physiotherapist
Jennifer Scott                Team Physiotherapist
Anna Skipper                Preparation and Recovery Lead

Paralympian #164 Cameron Leslie MNZM, knows only too well how important of a role support staff play at a pinnacle event. Having competed at three previous Paralympic Games winning three gold medals in Para swimming, Leslie hopes this year to represent both in the pool and as a member of the Wheel Blacks (NZ Wheelchair rugby team) who are returning to the Paralympic Games for the first time in 12-years. Leslie said: “I can tell you first-hand how crucial the support staff are at any event, but particularly the Paralympic Games. It is a pressure cooker environment and to have a team of experts dedicated to helping you, it allows you to get in the right mental space so you can just go out and perform at your best”. 

Leslie continued: “I hope to compete in two sports at this years’ Games, and more than ever I will need the help of the support staff to ensure my transition between Para swimming and Wheelchair rugby is seamless, especially with Covid. It adds another layer of complexity that I know the support staff will have under control as I move between teams”.

Paralympic hopeful Lisa Adams echoed Leslie’s sentiments: “My goal right now is to be selected to the NZ Paralympic Team to compete in Tokyo and I’m working really hard to make this happen. The support staff in New Zealand and those traveling with the Team are really important in making sure we’re in good shape physically and mentally ready to compete and represent our country.”

PNZ is hoping to build on the success and incredible public support that was generated during Rio 2016 and PyeongChang 2018. Fiona Allan (Chief Executive, PNZ) said: “During and after both Paralympic Games the unbelievable levels of support New Zealanders showed our Paralympians was so important and really helped them to perform at their very best for our country. Added to this the support of TVNZ and Attitude who truly brought the Paralympics to life showcasing our Paralympians performance and telling their stories.”