“Attending an ACC Paralympics New Zealand Open Day is a fantastic way for disabled people to find out what opportunities they might have in their region.”
Christchurch will stage the ACC Paralympics New Zealand Open Day for the first time on 18 February, when the series moves to the Cowles Stadium.
It will be the third event of its kind to be held since the end of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, where New Zealand rounded off their best performance ever by winning nine golds, six silvers and eight bronzes.
The first Open Day took place in Auckland on 21 October, and the second in Cambridge on 5 November.
The ACC Paralympics New Zealand Open Days have been developed and jointly staged by Paralympics New Zealand (PNZ) and its major partner ACC. They are designed to increase interest and participation in Para sports. It also gives PNZ the opportunity to identify talents that could eventually compete at the Paralympic Games.
Five of New Zealand’s Rio 2016 Paralympians will be supporting the event in Christchurch, including sailor Andrew May, track and field athletes William Stedman and Caitlin Dore, and the cycling tandem of Emma Foy and Laura Thompson.
Fifteen-time Paralympic medallist Sophie Pascoe will be providing her support from afar as she will attend the Laureus World Sports Awards ceremony in Monaco.
Following her involvement in the Auckland event, Pascoe said: “Attending an ACC Paralympics New Zealand Open Day is a fantastic way for disabled people to find out what opportunities they might have in their region, whether they are looking for social sport or even looking to the Paralympics one day.”
The Paralympians are encouraging people with impairment and their families and friends to come to this free event. People can try various Para sports and find out about sporting opportunities in their local communities. The event is also a chance for fans to get up close and meet New Zealand’s Paralympic heroes.
Adele Blackwood, ACC Injury Prevention Portfolio Manager, Communities said: “There has been a great response to the two previous Open Days, with hundreds of people coming along to learn about Para sport in their local region.
One child said it was the best day of his life, and I have seen families and people of all ages enjoy hours of activities at the events.
ACC cares about all people having the opportunity to lead healthy, active lives – so we are proud to partner with PNZ to bring these free events to communities.”
Malcolm Humm, PNZ High Performance Director, said: “We had an exceptional Rio 2016 Paralympic Games and are now looking forward to PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games and beyond that, to Tokyo 2020.
However, the kind of success we had in Rio does not happen overnight. The ACC Paralympics New Zealand Open Days will have two objectives: firstly, to help disabled people discover the joy of local community sport, regardless of whether they have Paralympic ambitions.
“Secondly, we will certainly be looking for those that display strong competitive potential.”
More information is available on PNZ´s website.