Posted on Friday 11th November, 2022

Key points:

  • 14-year-old Kiwi swimmer Rylee Sayer has won the female youth swimming medal for her performances through the Virtus Oceania Asia Games.
  • Para sailing athlete Caleb Evans has won a gold in the OA Games for his outstanding series in the men’s singles.
  • New Zealand rounds out the OA Games with 28 medals, including 3 gold, 11 silver and 14 bronze.
  • Virtus is the International Federation for athletes with intellectual impairment. The Virtus Oceania Asia Games 2022 (OA Games 2022) is an international multi-sport event in the Oceania Asia region for elite athletes with an intellectual impairment. It is being held 5-11 November 2022 in Brisbane.

An exhausted but happy delegation of New Zealand athletes tonight attended the Virtus Oceania Games Closing Ceremony. The delegation of 15 consists of 13 competing in swimming, 1 in sailing and 1 in athletics. They bring home 28 medals.

The final 2 medals were awarded to the New Zealand delegation on the closing day of the OA Games: gold for Caleb Evans in Para sailing, and gold for youth athlete Rylee Sayer in swimming. Youth swimmers do not compete in the finals of each event. Instead, there is one set of medals at the end of the OA Games given out based on the swimmer’s top 3 races, combining their World Para Swimming points from the races.

Swimming New Zealand’s Disability and Para Swimming Participation Manager, Paralympian Cameron Leslie, is with the team in Brisbane. He explains what a step up it’s been for Sayer to achieve this success here:

“It’s been impressive seeing Rylee’s ability to get into the zone. She’s a competitor and she has adapted to a new experience, new pool and new competitors who are the same classification as her. It’s not often she gets S14 vs S14 competition so for her to step up it has been a real positive.”

Caleb Evans with NZ flag

Meanwhile in sailing, New Zealander Caleb Evans has been racing through the week claiming the gold medal for singles (Hansa 303 One Pax). Evans won all but 2 of the series of 12 races against Australian Allister Peek. Evans won gold in both the OA Games and also the Para Sailing International Championships which were run in conjunction. Evans is grateful for the opportunity:

“It feels good to win gold. I want to thank my parents for getting me here.”

Most of the delegation will travel home to New Zealand tomorrow.

New Zealand delegation medals at Virtus Oceania Games 2022

(Some events are considered ‘exhibition events’ where they relate to the II3 classification or youth events. Medals awarded in these are counted below but may not appear in other counts.)

Joshua Lush112
Caleb Evans11
Asher Smith-Franklin22
Cuda Tawhai-Hamilton, Helen Mackay, Denver Xavier, Rylee Sayer11
Cuda Tawhai-Hamilton, Jack Bugler, Denver Xavier, Asher Smith-Franklin11
Finn Russ325
Helen Mackay11
Jack Bugler, Rylee Sayer, Asher Smith-Franklin, Helen Mackay11
Lance Dustow549
Luka Willems11
Rylee Sayer11
Tate Pichon1113

For details of the full delegation see our team announcement.