Paralympians Adam Hall and Corey Peters, and Para athlete Aaron Ewen have been selected by Paralympics New Zealand (PNZ) to the New Zealand Paralympic Team heading to the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games which begin on 4 March next year.
In addition, the following New Zealand Paralympic Team support staff have been selected, PNZ Chef de Mission - Jane Stevens, Deputy Chef de Mission - Lynette Grace, Head Coach - Ben Adams, and Assistant Coach - Scott Palmer with further appointments to be made at a later stage.
The selection announcement was made today in a ceremony hosted by Macpac at their Wānaka store. The outdoor recreational apparel and equipment brand is a new Official Supplier to Paralympics New Zealand, supporting the New Zealand Paralympic Team.
The three Para alpine skiers are thrilled with the opportunity to represent New Zealand once again on the world stage.
Today’s selection announcement is particularly moving for Ewen after being forced to withdraw from the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games team following a fractured hip while training in the lead up to the Paralympics. He made a successful comeback during the 2019 NZ winter and achieved podium finishes in the Southern Hemisphere Cups. Ewen competes with a sit-ski in the classification LW11.
“I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time,” explains Ewen. “I can’t wait to get to Beijing and know I’ve finally made it to the Winter Paralympics.”
Paralympian #158 Adam Hall MNZM is looking forward to showing his skills against a challenging course in Beijing as the Xiaohaituo Mountain Area has one of the steepest racetracks in the world. Hall competes across a number of standing Para alpine ski events, in the classification LW1. Beijing 2022 will be his fifth consecutive Paralympic Winter Games. Hall said:
“New Zealand always punches above its weight for a small country. Let’s prove we can do that again.
“There's been a lot of talk about the course in Beijing. The course will really challenge athletes and their abilities. That’s to my advantage – I love to pit myself against difficult tracks; it’s more fun than a plain sailing track that everyone is equally capable of completing.”
For Paralympian #188 Peters, Beijing 2022 is a chance to build on the medals he won in the Sochi 2014 and PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games. He competes across a number of events with a sit-ski, which he learnt to use following a spinal cord injury (classification LW12-1).
Peters appreciates the advantage that a specialist support team provides:
“It’s all about the team. The coaches, physios and whole Beijing 2022 team are world class professionals. It’s an individual event, but the support team is vital to winning. What that does is help us focus. We can do what we do best without distractions. As an athlete, you can just go out and perform at your best.”
Chef de Mission Jane Stevens agrees. Stevens can usually be found on slopes coaching adaptive snow sports in her role as Adaptive Snow Sports Manager at Snow Sports NZ.
“I am so excited to be able to support these three fantastic athletes to give their best, at what is the pinnacle for them in their sport. They are incredible representatives of what New Zealand can do, and what life with a disability can look like. Adam, Corey and Aaron will inspire a new generation of snow sports enthusiasts – both disabled and not. I urge all New Zealanders to show their support by making sure to catch their performances on TV.”
Stevens’ lifelong vocation has been empowering disabled people to enjoy snow sports. A veteran who has coached Para athletes through more than one Winter Paralympics, Stevens is elated to be appointed to the Chef de Mission role for what will be a Winter Paralympics with unique challenges:
“It is an absolute privilege to be Chef de Mission for the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games. This will be a Winter Paralympics unlike any we’ve had before. The physical and mental wellbeing of every Paralympian, Para athlete and support staff member is the number one priority for PNZ, and our planning reflects that. Beijing 2022 and the IPC are committed to delivering the Winter Paralympics in a COVID-safe environment, and we are working closely with them whilst fully ensuring our own high safety standards are met.”
The New Zealand Paralympic Team will depart New Zealand later this month for the northern hemisphere competitions in Canada and Europe.
27 days ago