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Paralympian Profile

Holly Robinson MNZM #183

Holly grew up in the west coast town of Hokitika with her parents and twin brother. She started playing rugby when she was four, then continued to enjoy a long list of sport including netball, basketball, cricket and badminton. Holly’s first experience of Para athletics was at the age of seven, at first, she didn’t really enjoy it and so decided to play other sports instead. It wasn’t until Holly turned nine that she went back to Para athletics and found she loved it.

At the age of ten Holly was selected in a Talent Identification programme and attended her first overseas competition when she was 12. By this time, she had decided she really wanted to give Para athletics a shot and gave up all other sports except for netball to focus on Para athletics.

Competing at the Paralympics

Holly Robinson moved to Dunedin in 2011 after she was offered a scholarship to train under Para athletics coach Raylene Bates. Moving to Dunedin in 2011 was a big step towards her dream to be the best in the world. The same year she moved to Dunedin, she attended her first IPC Athletics World Championships, and the following year was selected and competed at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Holly started to make a real impact globally by winning a silver and bronze, respectively, at the 2013 and 2015 IPC Athletics World Championships (now known as the Para Athletics World Championships).

Holly Robinson, silver medallist in Women’s Javelin F46, London 2017 World Para Athletics Championships

At Holly’s second Paralympic Games in Rio 2016, she was named the Opening Ceremony flag bearer. She then went on to win silver in the Women’s Javelin F46. Her silver medal throw contributed to the New Zealand Paralympic Team’s stunning 21 medals across 12 individual medallists in 2016 (9 gold, 5 silver and 7 bronze). The Team finished first in the world per capita and 13th in the world overall (previous best: 16th).

Following Rio 2016, Holly maintained her silver medal-winning streak in the women’s javelin F46 climbing the second rung of the podium at the 2017 and 2019 World Para Athletics Championships and Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.

In March 2021, Holly wrote herself into the record books when she became the first Para athlete to win a medal in an open event at the New Zealand Track & Field Championships, taking silver in the women’s javelin.

She carried this form through to the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games where she won gold in the thrilling Women’s Javelin F46 final. Sitting in third place on a rainy night with one throw to go, Holly threw 40.99m to claim the gold medal.

Moment of gratitude

Holly was the global winner of The Visa Award for her moment of gratitude at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. Her act of thanking the officials following her victory in the Women’s Javelin F46 captured the admiration of fans as they showed their support by voting. Robinson was up against 5 other incredible moments from around the globe.

At the 2023 World Para Athletics Championships, Holly just missed out on a medal in the F46 javelin event However, she bounced back to win a magnificent silver medal in the F46 shot put, with an Oceania record throw of 11.59m. This was Holly’s first time competing in shot put at a World Para Athletics Championships since finishing 7th in the 2011 edition in Christchurch (the event was not part of the world championships programme in the interim).

Holly competes in Para athletics because she enjoys and loves it. She loves the thrill of competition, challenging herself and working hard to achieve her goals. Holly’s ultimate goal is to be the best in the world.

Outside of sport, Holly completed a degree at the Otago Institute of Sport and Adventure in 2015 gaining a Bachelor of Applied Science in physical activity, health and wellness.

Holly officially received her ‘numbered’ Paralympic pin as part of The Celebration Project in Dunedin in February 2021. She was appointed Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) in the Queen’s Birthday and Platinum Jubilee Honours in 2022.

Holly was named a Harvey Norman Para Sport Champion in 2024.

Paralympic Results
Paralympic GamesResult
Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games
  • Gold - Women's Javelin F46

Rio 2016 Paralympic Games
  • Silver - Women's Javelin F46

London 2012 Paralympics Games
  • 7th - Women's Javelin F46

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    Profile

    • Hometown: Dunedin

    • Born: 10 December 1994

    • Iwi: Ngāi Tahu/Kai Tahu

    • Eligible Impairment: Limb deficiency

    • Health Condition: Dysmelia (lower left arm)

    • Coach: Raylene Bates

    • Classification: F/T46

    • Games Year: Paris 2024, Tokyo 2020, Rio 2016, London 2012

    • Medals Won: 1 Gold, 1 Silver

    • Para Sport: Para athletics

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