Club aims to build on recognition

Parafed Waikato was named club of the year at last month's Brian Perry Waikato Regional Sports Awards and its president says the club will build on its previous successes.

In his acceptance speech, Mike Posa said disabled sport was highlighted by the Paralympics every fourth year but he wanted to ensure the profile of disabled sport was maintained year-round.

"It's lovely we've been recognised. What I want to see is to continue that momentum and build on the structure and successes of the year."

Waikato Paraplegic and Physically Disabled Association (Parafed Waikato) offers a wide range of sports from adaptive rowing to hand cycling and swimming to wheelchair basketball.

Mike said the Parafed Waikato committee completed a "huge revamp" of the club's strategic plan last year which will ensure the club does the best job possible for its members.

As part of that the club is launching a Youth Ambassador Project. Mike said the project would see young adults in the club participate in leadership training.

"Youth development is a big focus for us. The future of the club lies with these people, so we want them to get involved,"

He said the club especially encouraged more young women to get involved as the club was primarily made up of men.

The club of about 110 members is run entirely by volunteers and has dozens of people associated with the club, including parents and caregivers.

Parafed Waikato had three athletes as finalists in the sports awards. Nikita Howarth was a finalist in the secondary schools sportswoman category for her stellar swim performance at last year's Paralympics.

Danny McBride, an adaptive rower, was a finalist in the sportsman of the year category while cyclist Sue Reid featured in the sportswoman of the year finals.

Danny and Sue also competed at the Paralympics last year.

Bruce Tocker, who was instrumental in the foundation of Parafed Waikato in 1967 and a paraplegic, received a services to sport award.

"Bruce has been a very involved and committed administrator over half a lifetime," said Mike.

Parafed Waikato athletes compete regularly throughout the country in regional and national events.

"There are some great opportunities [to compete]. We are sending a team to the Independence Games in Timaru in April. There's not a huge number of disabled sporting events in New Zealand but we do hold several creditable events fairly regularly in the Waikato." The next is the Perry NZ Wheelchair Tennis Open next month.

For more information about joining the club, visit or phone sport development officer Chloe Wickman on 858-5388 or 0274 945-587.

- Hamilton News

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