This article was originally published on the Paralympics New Zealand website. You can find the full article here.
This evening Paralympics New Zealand (PNZ) marked the third community event as part of The Celebration Project, where over the next 12 months in the lead-up to Tokyo 2020, the achievements of New Zealand’s 209 Paralympians since Tel Aviv 1968 will be officially recognised and celebrated.
In Hamilton, 18 New Zealand Paralympians, their families and friends, PNZ commercial partners and business leaders came together at Ebbett Toyota in partnership with Waikato Chamber of Commerce to celebrate over 50 years of Paralympic history in New Zealand acknowledging the incredible 209 Paralympians that have represented New Zealand. Since 1968 New Zealand Paralympic Teams have stunned supporters and competing nations with their determination, heart and courage and ultimately, success. Paralympians have contributed to New Zealand Paralympic Teams success by representing Kiwis with pride and dignity and bringing home a staggering 221 medals. Through this success they have inspired Kiwis to think differently about disability.
All 18 Paralympians were acknowledged and celebrated and joined an elite group of Paralympians that have now received their official ‘numbered’ Paralympic pin and certificate. This group now totals 44 following the Celebration Project events in Auckland and Whangarei throughout May. The official Paralympic ‘number’ is a unique number that is bestowed only once a Paralympian has competed at their first Paralympic Games. Athletes are then ordered alphabetically within each Paralympic Games.
Fiona Allan (Chief Executive, PNZ) said: “We were privileged to have 18 wonderful Paralympians and their families, friends and supporters, from New Zealand Paralympic Teams since Innsbruck 1988 come together in Hamilton tonight. There was Paralympian number 55 Patrick Cooper who competed as part of New Zealand’s 4th winter Paralympic Team in 1988, through to Paralympian number 209 Hannah van Kampen who has her sights set on the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.”
PNZ has now staged 3 events (Auckland, Whangarei and Hamilton) and will stage a further 9 community events around the country, within the communities that have so openly supported their Paralympic heroes over the past 50 years. The project has been made possible thanks to funding and support from the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board, New Zealand Chambers of Commerce and Toyota New Zealand.
Paralympian #153 Daniel Sharp (Hamilton)
During an impressive 10-year international career Daniel competed at three Paralympic Games. At his first Paralympic Games in Athens 2004 he claimed bronze in the Men’s 100m breaststroke SB13. In his next two Paralympic outings, Beijing 2008 and London 2012, he claimed silver in the same event. Daniel has set four world records, a Paralympic record and six Oceania records.
Paralympian #190 Amanda Cameron (Cambridge)
Amanda was selected to the New Zealand Paralympic Team along with her sighted pilot Hannah van Kampen, making her Paralympic debut at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. In the heat and intensity of the velodrome the pairing went in the bronze finals ride off and come 4th in the 3km individual pursuit and 6th in the Kilo. Amanda along with current pilot Nina Wollaston will compete at the 2019 UCI Para Cycling Road World Championships in September. When not riding, Amanda works as a talented Architectural Technician.
Paralympian #194 Emma Foy (Cambridge)
Emma experienced her first Paralympic Games in Rio 2016, with experienced pilot, Laura Thompson. The world class tandem pairing went on to compete at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games winning two medals; a silver in the Women's Individual B Pursuit and bronze in the Women's B Road Race. This year, Emma was paired with sighted pilot Hannah van Kampen at UCI Para Cycling Track World Championships, where they won a World Championships title and set the fastest time recorded at sea level. Emma is also studying law at Waikato University.
Paralympian #209 Hannah van Kampen (Cambridge)
Hannah is one of New Zealand’s most experience sighted pilots including having competed on the tandem with Amanda Cameron at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. After Rio, she competed with Emma Foy and just recently became a world champion at this year’s UCI Para Cycling Track World Championships. Emma and Hannah will compete together in September at the 2019 Para Cycling Road World Championships.