Rachel Hunter courts support for wheelchair athletes

By Michelle Curran

Seven year old Jaden Movold and Westpac Halberg Awards presenter Rachel Hunter play basketball. Photo /  Greg Bowker
Seven year old Jaden Movold and Westpac Halberg Awards presenter Rachel Hunter play basketball. Photo / Greg Bowker

Rachel Hunter proved she was as good at shooting hoops as fashion photos during a wheelchair basketball session in Auckland today.

The 42-year-old supermodel delighted the young athletes sharing the court when she netted a two-pointer - as Breakers star Gary Wilkinson missed three consecutive shots from under the hoop.

Hunter jetted into New Zealand from her Los Angeles home last week to prepare for the annual Halberg sporting awards on Thursday.

She's co-hosting the glittering ceremony in Auckland with Sky TV presenter Stephen McIvor.

The duo and members of the champion Breakers squad were in action today to promote the work of the Halberg Trust.

The trust honours New Zealand sporting greats and strives to enhance to lives of disabled people by enabling them to take part in sport.

"Seeing the happiness this sort of thing brings to the children is great," said Hunter.

"Sport takes people away from so many other things going on in their lives, and it was so good to see that being disabled doesn't prevent these kids from getting involved."

A keen rugby fan and All Blacks supporter, Hunter has previously co-hosted the Laureus World Sports Awards with tennis legend John McEnroe and said she was looking forward to hosting another ceremony.

"I really respect athletes and their perseverance and what they sacrifice at such a young age - emotionally and physically, and taking their bodies to the extreme."

Hunter, whose son Liam is an aspiring professional ice hockey player, said she enjoys track and field.

She was in Auckland to see the All Blacks lift the Rugby World Cup, which she rated as one of her sporting highlights of 2011.

Halberg Trust chief executive Steve Hall was delighted she was supporting the organisation - and today's basketball session.

"Because Rachel is hosting the awards for us, having her here today is awesome for us. She's a Kiwi icon and Kiwis love her because she's a great person and you can see she loves being out there with the kids.

"She draws attention to what Sir Murray (Halberg) calls 'the real work of the trust', and gives us a chance to shine the light on what the truist does 365 days of the year."

- APNZ

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