World Champion cyclist Jayne Parson has been named the Pelorus Trust Disabled Athlete of the Year at the 2011 Wellington Sportsperson of the Year Awards held in Wellington, New Zealand.
The New Zealand cyclist won the award after another successful year, which included becoming World Champion (with her tandem partner Sonia Waddell) in the Women's 3km Pursuit at the 2011 UCI Para-Cycling Track World Championships in March. The visually impaired cyclist also won bronze at the Beijing 2008 Paralympics with her partner Annaliisa Farrell in the Women's Time trial.
And perhaps her success may inspire other Para-athletes into competitive sport as Paralympics New Zealand launches the second series of Xccelerate 2 Xcellence, a talent search programme aimed at identifying people with impairments who display the athletic potential to win medals for New Zealand at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games and beyond.
Xccelerate 2 Xcellence was first launched in 2009 with 140 applications received from potential new athletes wishing to be part of the programme. A total of 85 athletes were tested; with 48 athletes being selected in the Xccelerate 2 Xcellence programme and more than 90 athletes becoming active in Paralympic Sport at some level.
With the 2012 London Paralympic Games fast approaching, 18 Xccelerate 2 Xcellence athletes are now immersed in the High Performance Programme and are on track for selection in the New Zealand Paralympic Games team for London 2012.
The London 2012 Paralympic Games will take place between 29 August and 9 September 2012.
More than one million people have so far registered for tickets which go on sale on 9 September. To do the same, register at www.tickets.london2012.com/