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Athlete Profile

Wojtek Czyz

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Wojtek Czyz is a four-time Paralympic champion and will create New Zealand sporting history as the first Para badminton player to represent the New Zealand Paralympic Team when he competes at the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games. This will be his first Paralympic Games competing for his adopted country of New Zealand.   

A lower-leg amputee following a football accident when he was 21, Wojtek represented Germany at three Paralympic Games (in 2004, 2008 and 2012), where he won seven medals in Para athletics as a sprinter and long jumper. He only took up Para badminton three years ago, after settling in New Zealand with his wife and son. 

Wojtek says he is proud to represent New Zealand on the world stage and compete at the Paralympic Games for a fourth time, but in a completely new sport.  

“I simply want to show everyone in New Zealand and beyond what is possible. You need to want it, and the moment you really dedicate yourself to something and really fight for it, success will come to you,” he says.   

“That’s my main reason why I’m doing it. I’m really looking forward to inspiring the next generation and helping New Zealand to grow new athletes in Para sport.” 

Wojtek’s background in sport is immense. Growing up in Germany, he realised his dream to become a professional football player at 21, but in his last club game before taking up his contract, he broke a knee in a collision with a goalkeeper. The injury led to the amputation of his left lower leg. 

Six months later, with a prosthetic and his same passion to succeed, he became the German champion in the 100m T42 and long jump F42/44. Two years later, he won three gold medals in long jump and sprints at the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games. In Beijing four years later, he won another gold, followed by a silver and two bronze medals at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. 

“I then retired from Para athletics, to sail around the world with my family and help amputees to receive prosthetics. Living on a boat for five years, we supported 90 people with prosthetic legs,” says Czyz, who now lives in the Hamilton settlement of Eureka. 

“Arriving in New Zealand, we fell in love with the country, and I was very interested to see how Para sport was set up in New Zealand. Badminton had always been a hobby of mine since I was a boy, but I’d never played it professionally. When I discovered it had been included in the competition schedule for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, I reached out to Badminton New Zealand and asked them to assess my skills.” 

After beating other Para badminton players in New Zealand, Czyz decided to pour everything into competing internationally, with the goal of qualifying for the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games. He played his first Para badminton international for New Zealand in Dubai in 2022. 

A certified diving instructor, Czyz has also set five world records in free diving as an amputee.  

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    • home icon

      Hometown: Hamilton

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      Born: 30 July 1980

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      Ethnicity: German

    • Eligible Impairment: Limb deficiency

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      Health Condition: Above knee amputee

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      Coach: Marianne Loh

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      Classification: SL3

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      Games Year: Paris 2024

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      Para Sport: Para badminton

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