Landgraaf, The Netherlands (13 November 2017) – With just under four months to go until the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in South Korea, New Zealand Para athletes are back in race mode for the first events of the Northern Hemisphere season. Para snowboarder Carl Murphy (Wanaka) is in Landgraaf, The Netherlands to compete in the World Para Snowboard Europa Cup banked slalom on Tuesday 14 November followed by World Cups on Wednesday 15 and Thursday 16 November.
Murphy is one of four Para athletes named to the New Zealand team for PyeongChang 2018, along with Para alpine skiers Adam Hall (Wanaka), Corey Peters (New Plymouth) and Aaron Ewen (Auckland). Hall and Peters will depart New Zealand in a week’s time to begin training for their first races of the season, Europa Cups in Pitztal, Austria. Aaron Ewen will first head to the team’s training base in Winter Park, USA and will have his first races there on 2 January.
Snow Sports NZ Adaptive Manager, Jane Stevens, says the Para athletes are well-prepared for the season ahead after a solid training block for the Para alpine skiers throughout the New Zealand winter and with Para snowboarder Carl Murphy earning a bronze medal at the Audi quattro Winter Games NZ World Para Snowboard Cup.
“We have an exciting few months ahead as we build toward PyeongChang in March,” says Stevens. “Training went really well here in New Zealand this season and the Para athletes are focused on their goals to win medals at the Games.”
Looking to the future Snow Sports NZ continue to bring new Para athletes through the Adaptive Snwo Sports programme with the goal of getting more Para athletes to Paralympics Games in the future. Snow Sports NZ and Paralympics New Zealand were delighted to receive aspecial boost to these efforts after receiving LISKI alpine skiing equipment at the beginning of the year.
The support was part of the ‘Actualising the Dream project’ developed by the Organising Committee for the 2018 Paralympic and Olympic Winter Games (POCOG) in partnership with the Agitos Foundation, the International Paralympic Committee’s development arm.
“We are extremely grateful to the Agitos Foundation and POCOG for the donation of new ski racing gates,” says Stevens. “We put them to good use this winter, running quality training sessions for our elite Para athletes as well as using them at development camps which help us to spot other talented Para athletes.”
PyeongChang 2018 debutant Aaron Ewen was first identified as having potential talent at one such camp run by Snow Sports NZ with funding from the Agitos Foundation. Three years on and Aaron’s hard work, dedication and an absolute love for the sport have led to him being selected to represent New Zealand at the pinnacle event of the sport.
“With the support of our funders and partners, particularly The Agitos Foundation and Paralympics New Zealand, Snow Sports NZ has a strong high performance development pathway in place,” says Stevens. “Aaron is a very good example of how a talented and dedicated Para athlete can follow that pathway and begin to enjoy success on the world stage. We look forward to seeing him and the rest of the team competing against the best in the world this season.”
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