By Kent Gray/Triathlon.kiwi
Auckland triathlete Kurt Peterson and his new coach Rob Dallimore have been selected to a new Paralympics New Zealand initiative designed to support athletes to the next level.
The inaugural Para Sport Collective will see 22 Para athletes and 20 coaches participate in three national camps and bi-monthly virtual connections over the coming 12 months.
Launched after consultation with Para athletes and coaches, the Para Sport Collective hopes to deliver better support pre-High Performance Para athletes and build “connections, confidence and knowledge” in a like-minded community not always on hand given the low numbers in some sports and dispersion of athletes and coaches around New Zealand.
Peterson has set his heart on representing New Zealand at the 2024 Paralympics in Paris. His bid is off to an impressive start; after winning the national title at Tinman in Tauranga last November, Peterson claimed silver in a PB time of 1h 23min 6sec at Oceania Para Cup Busselton earlier this month.
It was the 35-year-old Aucklander’s first offshore triathlon and came after he completed Ironman NZ last December – all 226km of it – in an amazing 14:28:09, raising more than $2000 for the Cerebral Palsy Society along the way.
Peterson took to social media after the intake was announced, saying he was “so proud” to be included. There was room for a bit of his trademark humour too.
“I’m pumped to be a part of a group of insanely talented and strong-willed individuals like myself,” he said.
“I am excited and looking forward to the support and resources that I will be provided through this venture. . A massive thanks to Triathlon New Zealand and Paralympics New Zealand for giving me an opportunity to be the best version of myself!”
You can follow Peterson’s journey on Instagram at @adventuretoparis24. There’s also an opportunity to contribute to a Givealittle Page to help Peterson fund his Olympic dream.
A total of 14 of the recognised 28 Para sports are represented in the first Para Sport Collective.
The first camp will be held on May 27-28 at AUT Millennium on Auckland’s North Shore, also the home of Tri NZ.
To be considered for the Collective, the Para athletes and coaches had to be nominated by their National Sport Organisation, based on meeting criteria such as demonstrating high-performance potential. Each individual then submitted an application explaining why they wanted to be part of the collective and their future sporting ambitions. The applications were reviewed and selections made by Paralympics New Zealand.
The Para Sport Collective is supported by ACC, with CE Megan Main sharing her passion for the project.
“Best of luck to these determined and talented individuals. Sport has the power to improve lives and minimise the impact of injury – something we believe in strongly at ACC. That’s why I’m so thrilled that ACC is supporting this pre-High Performance stage of their journey.”
Paralympics New Zealand Para Sport Collective
Alisha Mill (Christchurch) Boccia
Troy Robertson (Whangārei) Boccia
Naqibullah Alizadeh (Auckland) Goalball
Jayden Glentworth (Palmerston North) Para alpine skiing
Jaden Movold (Auckland) Para athletics
Milly Marshall Kirkwood (Inglewood) Para athletics
Charli Gardiner-Hall (Waiuku) Para athletics
Corran Hanning (Wellington) Para athletics
Carrie Wilson (Christchurch) Para badminton
Siobhan Terry (Rotorua) Para cycling
Ben Westenberg (Tauranga) Para cycling
Louise Duncan (Levin) Para equestrian
James Haydon (Auckland) Para swimming
Millie Long (Christchurch) Para swimming
Rawiri Tristram-Brown (Levin) Para swimming
Guy Harrison (Napier) Para swimming
James Goulding (Auckland) Para table tennis
Keegan Jackson (Invercargill) Para table tennis
Kurt Peterson (Auckland) Para triathlon
Kiranjit Singh (Auckland) Shooting Para sport
Nathaniol Tairi (Auckland) Wheelchair rugby
Jacinta Richardson (Dunedin) Wheelchair rugby
Matt Mill (Christchurch) Boccia
Scott Palmer (Wanaka) Para alpine skiing
Steve O’Kane (Auckland) Para athletics
Chris Knight (Invercargill) Para athletics
Michelle Au (Auckland) Para badminton
Marianne Loh (Hamilton) Para badminton
Zac Franich (Auckland) Para canoe
Gavin Elmiger (Whangaparāoa) Para canoe
Jack Cooper (Cambridge) Para cycling
Jason Allen (Christchurch) Para cycling
Jody Hartston (Raglan) Para equestrian
Ben Close (Christchurch) Para swimming
Lin Tozer (Palmerston North) Para swimming
Mark Page (Ngāruawāhia) Para table tennis
John Tuki (Takanini) Para table tennis
Rob Dallimore (Auckland) Para triathlon
Frank Schlaffmann (Auckland) Shooting Para Sport
David Dewhirst (Dunedin) Wheelchair rugby
Gavin Rolton (Waikana) Wheelchair rugby
Rene Ruahe (Auckland) Wheelchair tennis