William Stedman’s BRONZE takes New Zealand medal haul to 19 in total, with 1 day of competition left
The New Zealand Paralympic Team has now surpassed its pre-Games medal target of 18
New Zealand results to date:
· 10th in the world overall on medal table
· 1st in the world per capita for medals
3 – Sophie Pascoe
2 – Liam Malone
1 – Nikita Howarth
1 – Cameron Leslie
1 – Mary Fisher
1 – Anna Grimaldi
2 – Sophie Pascoe
1 – Holly Robinson
1 – Liam Malone
1 – Emma Foy & Laura Thompson
1 – William Stedman
1 – Jessica Hamill
1 – Nikita Howarth
1 – Rory McSweeney
1 – Rebecca Dubber
Highlights from Rio today:
· BRONZE – William Stedman, Men’s 400m T36
· 6th overall on Day 4 of 5 – Andrew May, Rick Dodson & Chris Sharp, 3-Person Keelboat (Sonar)
· 8th and personal best – Tupou Neiufu, New Zealand’s youngest Paralympian at 15yo
· 8th and personal best – Jesse Reynolds, Paralympic debutant
· The New Zealand Paralympic Team has exceeded its overall target of 18 medals in Rio
The New Zealand Paralympic Team today shot past its overall Rio 2016 Paralympic Games target of 18 medals in total, collecting a BRONZE through the splendid efforts of 16-year-old William Stedman in the Men’s 400m T36. With 9 gold medals already secured, the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games are now exactly matched to the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games in terms of gold medals, making these two Games equal as New Zealand’s most successful ever. Should any of the Paralympians in action tomorrow take gold, the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games will officially become our most successful, ever.
Paralympic debutant William Stedman stormed to a BRONZE in the Men’s 400m T36, in 55.69, just a hairs breath behind the silver medallist Roman Pavlyk (Ukraine) on 55.67. The gold medal was won by Paul Blake (Great Britain) in a time of 54.49. Notably, the race was so close at the line that the fourth placed Krzysztof Ciuksza (Poland) was only two tenths of second behind Stedman, on 55.97. 16-year-old Stedman, who has a mild form of Cerebral Palsy, was so committed to his goal of a winning a Rio 2016 Paralympic Games medal, he fainted after the race and required medical support.
Stedman said: “It’s half sunk in. It’s a bit surreal actually. I went into the race thinking I could get a medal, but I knew that to get one, I would have to run a massive PB (personal best) and I ended up doing that, so I am stoked. Afterwards, I ended up being quite sick. I couldn’t walk for a while and I threw up, but I felt heaps better after I threw up so that was good. I just put everything into the race, I wanted to stay close to Paul (the winner) but then I got really nervous as the Polish guy went past me at 100m, but I caught him again. Yeah it was good. I am looking forward to my 800 tomorrow.“
William Stedman will compete in the Men’s 800m T36 at 10.19am NZT on Sunday.
Cameron Leslie finished 8th in the Final of the Men’s 50m Backstroke S5 in a time of 42.26, over 6 seconds adrift of home grown favourite Daniel Dias (Brazil), who won in a time of 35.40. Dias, one of the most popular athletes in Brazil, has been given a rousing reception by the sold-out crowd every time he entered the Aquatic Centre pool deck this week. In the heats, Leslie shaved half a second off his personal best, setting a time of 41.30. Leslie has already picked up a GOLD in the Men’s 150m Individual Medley SM4, smashing his own World Record by over 2 seconds and setting a new time.
Leslie said: “Tonight’s race was a frustrating performance as I would have liked to have backed up what I did this morning’s heat with a PB tonight. But having said that I have done three races and three personal bests so it has been a success all in all for me. Plus a gold medal and a world record. Tonight’s final was a great experience to be part of with Daniel Dias in front of his home crowd, they went crazy.“
“Rio has been a really different Games from London and Beijing. In particular the local crowds have been phenomenal the way they come out and support and the noise they make is impressive. It has been great to have so many Kiwi supporters here. Big shout out to Mr Vintage for the great supporters gear they designed. It has been awesome to look up into the crowd of Brazilians and see the Kiwis and know exactly where they are.“
Gold medallist Mary Fisher was back in the pool today, after qualifying 5th fastest for the Women’s 200m Individual Medley SM11 in a time of 3:00.69. Fisher swam for her life in the Final, leading through the Butterfly and Backstroke legs, before beginning to slow through the Breaststroke. By the Freestyle, she had dropped back and finished in 6th position, in a time of 2:55.71. Fisher’s personal best in this event is the standing World Record and Paralympic Record 2:46.91 from London 2012.
Fisher said: “I knew I had to go out hard tonight to have a chance but I just could not quite make it to the wall in the top three. Overall in Rio, I was so happy about my first performance in the 100m backstroke as everything just came together perfectly. The other swims haven’t been bad; it’s just not been quite enough to medal. I have prepared as well as I could have so I am happy with how I swam.“
Mary Fisher completely smashed her competitors in the Women’s 100m Backstroke S11 in Rio de Janeiro at the end of last week, winning a GOLD medal and setting a World Record time of 1:17.96.
Jesse Reynolds finished 7th in the Men’s 100m Backstroke S9 in a personal best time of 1:05.57, breaking his previous personal best by over a second and staying with the eventual bronze medallist for most of the race. Yesterday Reynolds set a personal best in the Men’s 100m Butterfly S9 Final.
Reynolds said: “It was a very very close final and such an amazing experience. The finals at a Paralympic Games are something completely different. The crowd and pool is amazing and I am just stoked to be here. I’m really happy with 7th place in my first ever Paralympics.“
“The experience has been fantastic. Being able to watch the other competitors, all the big names, and learn from how they prepare day-to-day. Staying in the Village with other Paralympians from so many different sports has been great. And the food hall is massive – an athletes dream come true being able to eat as much as you want.“
Meanwhile, Paralympic debutant and New Zealand’s youngest Paralympian at the Games, 15-year-old Tupou Neiufi, had a great swim in her first ever Paralympic Final. She finished 7th in a personal best time of 1:14.94 in the Women’s 100m Backstroke S9, beating her previous best by half a second.
Neiufi said: “It was great out there and so awesome to race against so many world class Paralympic swimmers. I have loved the Games, being here as a part of the New Zealand Paralympic Team has been amazing and a highlight has also been meeting so many new people.“
Rio 2016 Bronze medallist Rebecca Dubber competed in the heat for the Women’s 100m Freestyle S7 today, finishing 9th in a time of 1:18.85, missing qualification by just under three tenths of a second.
Down at Pontal road cycling course, Paralympic debutant Fraser Sharp finished the Men’s Road Race C3 just outside the Top 10, 2m:37s off the gold medal time of 1:49.11. This is an exceptional result from the Tauranga local, who was only called up to the New Zealand Paralympic Team just over two weeks ago with Para-Canoeist Scott Martlew, after New Zealand was reallocated two more male slots for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games following the suspension of the Russian Paralympic Team.
Earlier this week. Sharp finished in 8th place in the Men’s Time Trial C3 at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, in a time of 42:20.07. After a near-death accident in 1993 left him with a neurological impairment, Fraser Sharp now has an incredible story. Two days ago he said: “I only had my call to the Paralympic Games 2 ½ weeks ago and it has just been a big blur. The whole journey has been pretty emotional, and I would not have been able to do this would the support of my family, friends, Paralympics New Zealand and the Tauranga community. I have been head down focused on trying to represent my country and do the best I could do.“
Stephen Hills, the 35-year-old farm hand from New Plymouth, competed in his second and final event today on the road, Men’s Road Race T1-2. Hills placed 8th after the sprint finish with two other riders in a field that saw the first 8 riders come within 4 minutes of each other. Hills was 3.26 minutes behind the winner Peter Hans Durst (Germany) who completed the in a time of 50.57.
Two days ago Hills made history by becoming the first New Zealander to ever compete at a Paralympic Games on a trike. Hills only made the switch from two-wheeled bikes to the trike last year, making his international debut at three UCI Para-Cycling Road World Cup events in Germany, Switzerland and Italy. He then capped this off with a 5th in the Men’s T2 Time Trial and a 6th in the Men’s T2 Road Race at the UCI Para-Cycling Road World Championships. On Wednesday, Hills finished the Men’s Time Trial T1-2 in 8th place.
Andrew May, Rick Dodson and Chris Sharp
Today’s racing made the medal outcome a foregone conclusion, with the Aussie now so far ahead they are certain of a gold medal, leaving the New Zealand team battling it out for silver or bronze. The kiwis will go into the race in 6th position, but with 6 countries only 7 points apart, it’s still anyone’s race.
Sailing today was on Naval course, with a predicted 10-15kts. This course was expected to be less shifty than Sugarloaf which they sailed yesterday. At the end of Race Day 4 the Kiwis were elevated into 5th overall after the Brits were disqualified for not doing penalty turns after infringing the US team.
On Race Day 5, Race 9: the boys started well and halfway through the race were holding on to 2nd place. However difficult sailing conditions again today saw the front half of the fleet end up at the back of the fleet 2/3rds of the way through the race. Unfortunately, the Kiwi team couldn’t come back and finished this race in 11th place, with USA who are currently 2nd overall just one place ahead of them.
Race 10, the last of the Regatta before the medal race tomorrow, was a much better race for New Zealand. The kiwis oscillated between 4th, 5th and 6th throughout the race and finished 4th at the end of the race. Norway, who were in 3rd on the overall table finished 11th in this race which elevated the kiwis to 6th overall by the end of the day and just 5 points off a bronze and 7 points off silver medal.
Andrew May said: “We definitely have a chance to win a medal. The best way to make certain of that would be to win the race tomorrow. It’s great to have a simple goal! Today was an interesting day. The courses are really tough with a lot of uncertainties around tides. We have never made the same mistake twice, but we have certainly made some interesting news ones! At the end of the day, we are sailing better than we ever have as a team so we are feeling good about our chances tomorrow.“
“The Paralympic Games have definitely been a fascinating place for Rick and Chris, who have never been before. The Village is full of interesting people from all over the world, it is very eye opening!“
WHAT’S ON TOMORROW
It’s the last day of the Paralympic Games! Tomorrow the Para-Cyclists are back out on the road racing circuit, the Para-Sailors are competing in the medal race and today’s bronze medallist, William Stedman, is back on track in the Men’s 800m T36. 16-year-old Hamish McLean is back in the pool.
· Para-Cyclists: Emma Foy & Laura Thompson; Amanda Cameron & Hannah van Kampen
· Para-Sailors: Chris Sharp, Andrew May and Rick Dodson
· Para-Athletics: William Stedman
· Para-Swimmers: Hamish McLean
The 31-strong New Zealand Paralympic Games Team will compete at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games between 8-19 September 2016 NZT, with a mighty global contingent of 4,350 other athletes from 160 countries. The Paralympics is the world’s largest multi-sport event for disabled athletes. New Zealand will contest six Para-Sports, chasing a target of 18 medals in total, including 12 gold medals.
Where can kiwis watch our Paralympians in action?
Views can catch the New Zealand Paralympic Team in action at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games by tuning into DUKE on Freeview 13, Sky 23 or online at www.tvnz.co.nz/duke (find daily schedule here: www.tvnz.co.nz/paralympics2016/schedule), by watching the daily highlights programme on TV1 at 9.30pm, or by visiting www.tvnz.co.nz/ondemand/paralympics or https://attitudelive.com/rio-2016-paralympics to watch on demand. Results will also be shown on ONE News, Breakfast and Seven Sharp. Additionally, coverage can be found by visiting the Paralympics website: www.paralympic.org.
In addition to this and as a result of huge public interest in New Zealand TVNZ has created a second live stream so you can choose between the coverage of DUKE or live Para-Swimming or Para-Athletics action: