New Zealand boosts Paralympian support

Para athletes to receive same grants as Olympians 14 Oct 2018
female Para swimmer Sophie Pascoe holds up a gold medal by the pool

Sophie Pascoe is New Zealand's most decorated Paralympian

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By Paralympics New Zealand

“It’s only fair that Para athletes will be rewarded for their outstanding achievements in an equitable way.”

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced that Performance Enhancement Grants will now be the same value for Paralympians and Olympians. Currently grants for Olympians can be up to NZD 20,000.

She also made public a health insurance plan for all carded athletes – recognising that the hard work and sacrifice that comes with excellence on the world stage is the same for all elite athletes.

“I’m delighted to announce that High Performance Sport New Zealand has confirmed parity of Government-funded Performance Enhancement Grants for Paralympians and Olympians alike,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“It’s only fair that Para athletes will be rewarded for their outstanding achievements in an equitable way.”

Fiona Allan, Paralympics New Zealand Chief Executive, said: “Since the Rio 2016 and PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Games, there has been amazing public support for our Paralympians, and this announcement further illustrates how critical these athletes are to the New Zealand sporting community and how they are equally valued.

“Our Para athletes are incredible role models that have inspired Kiwis to think differently about disability.”

The agreement will see Paralympic and Olympic medallists supported equally through direct financial grants to enable them to train full-time, in order to maximise their international performance.

Prime Minister Ardern joined New Zealand’s most decorated Paralympian Sophie Pascoe and Paralympic cycling hopeful Nicole Murray as keynote speakers at the fifth edition of the gala dinner, which marked Paralympics New Zealand’s 50th anniversary as the National Paralympic Committee.

“I’m inspired by Paralympic New Zealand’s vision of ‘Excellence and Equity through sport’. You are part of a worldwide social change movement which uses the power of sport to promote a more diverse and inclusive society – an objective that is right in line with what this Government seeks to achieve,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“I had the privilege of meeting the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Paralympics team when they returned to New Zealand. Like any high performance athlete you speak to – it was obvious that sport was part of their DNA – Kiwis love to take on the world and win. Of course, with that comes all of the hard work to get to the world stage.”