Posted on Monday 23rd March, 2020

Statement from Selwyn Maister, PNZ Chair and Fiona Allan, PNZ Chief Executive

Today Paralympics New Zealand (PNZ) has informed Para athletes targeting the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games of the IOC’s decision to consider over the next 4 weeks a number of scenarios regarding the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, including postponement.

This development is in response to ongoing uncertainty and growing concern from the international sporting community. For the sake of Para athletes in New Zealand and throughout the world who have had their training and qualification plans severely disrupted we sincerely hope that a decision can be taken as quickly as possible to prevent further uncertainty and we shall be advocating for that.

Andrew Parsons, President of the International Paralympic Committee, expressed his support for the decision and said there was nothing more important than human life.

Please see the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) statement here and a press release from the IOC here.

Please see the PNZ correspondence to Paralympians and Para athletes targeting the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games below.

Dear Paralympians and Para athletes targeting the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games

Today we learnt the IOC, in consultation with the IPC are considering a number of scenarios related to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, including postponement. The key priority is to safeguard the health of all involved and to contribute to the containment of COVID-19. Over the next 4 weeks the IOC and key stakeholders will work through the various scenarios. A cancellation has been ruled out.

Above all else, the physical and mental wellbeing of every Paralympian, Para athlete and support staff member in the New Zealand Para sport community, and the people who surround us, is the number one priority for Paralympics New Zealand.

We are aware that you are being increasingly impacted by the current situation, along with many around the world. All Para athletes need a safe, and fair playing field to train and compete and right now, the widespread and evolving impact of COVID-19 is not allowing that to happen.

We will continue to work with our key stakeholders within the New Zealand Para sport community including HPSNZ, National Sport Organisations and you to continually assess and adjust our Tokyo 2020 planning and commit to keeping you advised of any further IOC announcements.

The Paralympic Movement is built on resilience and determination. We know as Para athletes you will draw upon this at this time, whilst continuing to promote a more diverse and inclusive society.

Kind regards

Selwyn Maister, Chair, Paralympics New Zealand      

Fiona Allan, Chief Executive, Paralympics New Zealand