Women dominate third group of Para athletes selected to the New Zealand Paralympic Team for Tokyo 2020
Paralympian #183 Holly Robinson. Paralympian #192 Caitlin Dore, Paralympian #195 Anna Grimaldi, Paralympian #208 William Stedman and Para athletes Lisa Adams and Danielle Aitchison have been selected by Paralympics New Zealand (PNZ) to the New Zealand Paralympic Team heading to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games which begin on 24 August. The announcement was made in Auckland at AUT Millennium today and marks the third group of Para athletes to be announced to the New Zealand Paralympic Team.
Paralympian #183 Holly Robinson (Dunedin) made her Paralympic debut in London 2012, she then went on to be named flag bearer for the New Zealand Paralympic Team at the opening ceremony of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. At Rio 2016 she won a silver medal in the Women’s Javelin F46. Tokyo 2020 will be her third Paralympic Games. In March 2021, Robinson wrote herself into the record books when she became the first Para athlete to win a medal in an open event at the Jennian Homes New Zealand Track & Field Championships, taking silver in the women’s javelin. Robinson has a single limb deficiency.
Paralympian #192 Caitlin Dore (Christchurch) will be competing at her second Paralympic Games in Tokyo. She made her debut in Rio 2016 and placed 7th in the Women’s Javelin F37. Following the Paralympics in Rio, Dore had to reassess her athletics future, after the Women’s Javelin F37 was taken off the list of guaranteed events for the Tokyo 2020. A shift to Women’s Shot Put F37 produced encouraging results, with Dore breaking the New Zealand F37 shot put record in February 2018, just eight months after making the change. She moved back home to Christchurch early this year, where she now trains alongside Dame Valerie Adams and Tom Walsh. Dore has cerebral palsy.
Paralympian #195 Anna Grimaldi (Dunedin) is well known for her gold medal winning moment at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games in the Women’s Long Jump T47. Grimaldi struggled at the 2017 World Para Athletics Championship in London from a lingering foot issue. After 2 years of medical care and rehabilitation she was back on the podium, winning silver in the Women’s Long Jump T47 at the 2019 World Para Athletics Championships. During the 2021 summer season, Grimaldi achieved 4 PBs, taking her within 10cm of the world record in her classification of T47. Grimaldi has a single limb deficiency.
Paralympian #208 William Stedman (Christchurch) competed at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, and at the age of 16 he won two bronze medals in the Men’s 400m and 800m T36. Stedman has continued his dominance on the track, winning silver at the 2017 World Para Athletics Championships in the Men’s 800m T36, and bronze at the 2019 World Para Athletics Championships in the Men’s 400m T36. Stedman has cerebral palsy.
Para athlete Lisa Adams (Rotorua) began competing in Para athletics in 2018 after an article about her playing rugby league was spotted by Athletics New Zealand coach Raylene Bates. A few months later, she attended a classification event in Hastings and was encouraged to try shot put and discus. A year later at the 2019 Jennian Homes New Zealand Track & Field Championships, Adams broke the Women’s Shot Put F37 world record. She went onto then break her own world record three times and win gold at the 2019 World Para Athletics Championships. Adams will make her Paralympic debut at Tokyo 2020. She has cerebral palsy.
Para athlete Danielle Aitchison (Hamilton) will also make her Paralympic debut in Tokyo 2020. She had her first taste of national success in 2017 at the New Zealand Secondary Schools Championships, where she won gold in the 200m and long jump, and silver in the 100m. With no long jump in her classification at the Paralympic Games, Aitchison focused her energy on the 100m and 200m. She was then selected to represent New Zealand at the 2019 World Para Athletics Championships in Dubai and went on to win silver in the Women’s 200m T36. Aitchison has cerebral palsy.
Paralympian #192 Caitlin Dore said: “When my coach at the time said there would be no javelin in Tokyo, only shot put or discus, there was no option but to choose another event. Shot put felt more natural. I just picked up a shot again and never looked back. I am over the moon to be selected. Tokyo has been my number one goal since I started this journey. We will continue to train with a purpose and just get on with having everything in place and knowing exactly what the end goal is.”
Paralympian #208 William Stedman said: “There’s always extra buzz and excitement when you’re competing at a major event. March 2020 was the last time I competed outside of New Zealand. I am looking forward to getting over there and competing at my best.“
Paula Tesoriero (Chef de Mission, NZ Paralympic Team) said, “We are thrilled to welcome a further 6 Para athletes to the New Zealand Paralympic Team and to see experienced Paralympians that have paved the way for those that will become Paralympians when they take to the track and field in Tokyo. A huge privilege and honour.“
Fiona Allan (Chief Executive, PNZ) said, “It is fantastic to announce our third group of Para athletes selected to represent New Zealand at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games today. The 6 Para athletes including a remarkable 5 females, who will compete in Para athletics have satisfied PNZ Selectors that they have met the selection criteria for Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.“
She continues, “Caitlin, Anna, Holly, William, Lisa and Danielle will be looking to continue the legacy of previous Paralympians that have competed in New Zealand Paralympic Team across 13 Paralympic Games since 1968. Through their commitment to training and performance they will drive social change and inclusion.“
Peter Pfitzinger (Chief Executive Athletics New Zealand) said: “On behalf of the New Zealand athletics community, I wish to congratulate our athletes on their selection to the New Zealand Paralympic Team. Being able to announce a mix of experienced Paralympians who medalled in Rio 2016, alongside athletes on debut in their events, is an important and exciting milestone for New Zealand Para athletics. We are proud that such a strong contingent will represent New Zealand on the track and in the field in Tokyo.“
The New Zealand Paralympic Team has competed in Para athletics at every Paralympic Games since Kiwis first competed at Tel Aviv 1968. Over this time Para athletics athletes in the New Zealand Paralympic Team have won a staggering 89 medals across 13 Paralympic Games.
The addition of these 6 Para athletics athletes takes the New Zealand Paralympic Team to 19 selected Para athletes to date, with selections pending for up to another 5 Para sports over the coming months. The eventual team is expected to include up to 45 Para athletes in total. In April and early May, Paralympians Cameron Leslie, Nikita Howarth, Tupou Neiufi, Sophie Pascoe and Jesse Reynolds were selected in Para swimming; and Paralympian Cameron Leslie and Para athletes Hayden Barton-Cootes, Cody Everson, Robert Hewitt, Tainafi Lefono, Gareth Lynch, Gavin Rolton and Mike Todd in Wheelchair rugby.
The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games will be held from Tuesday 24 August to Sunday 5 September 2021 and will include 22 Para sports on the event schedule and up to 4,400 Paralympians competing. The Paralympic Games is the largest event worldwide for driving social change and inclusion.
Para athletes selected to the New Zealand Paralympic Team are:
|Paralympian/Para athlete||Resides||Classification||Impairment (Disability)||Coach||Club|
|Paralympian #183 Holly Robinson||Dunedin||F46||Limb deficiency||Raylene Bates||Athletics Taieri|
|Paralympian #192 Caitlin Dore||Christchurch||F37||Cerebral palsy||Hayden Hall||Athletics Taieri|
|Paralympian #195 Anna Grimaldi||Dunedin||T47||Limb deficiency||Brent Ward||Hill City University Athletic Club|
|Paralympian #208 William Stedman||Christchurch||T36||Cerebral palsy||George Edwards||Port Hills Athletic Club|
|Lisa Adams||Rotorua||F37||Cerebral palsy||Dame Valerie Adams||Lake City Athletic Club|
|Danielle Aitchison||Hamilton||T36||Cerebral palsy||Alan McDonald||Hamilton City Hawks Athletics|