Paralympics: NZ targets 18 medals

Sophie Pascoe. Photo / Geoff Sloan
Sophie Pascoe. Photo / Geoff Sloan

Paralympic bosses have set a target of 18 medals from the upcoming Paralympic Games in London, even though the New Zealand team has only 24 athletes.

The Games start in London on Thursday evening (NZT) and New Zealand Chef de Mission Duane Kale and high performance director Mal Humm have set a high target.

The aquatic centre should see the Kiwi flag hoisted more times than any other venue during the Games - as many as 12 if Kale and Humm's predictions come to fruition.

Sophie Pascoe, 19, is expected to collect another haul of medals after her exploits in the pool in Beijing in 2008 when she won four. Rebecca Dubber, Cameron Leslie, Daniel Holt, Aine Kelly-Costello, Daniel Sharp, Mary Fisher and 13-year-old Nakita Howarth are also capable of a podium spot in London.

"Our selection criteria was pretty black and white to be honest; it was put up a medal-winning performance here in London or put up a top six and be a medal prospect for Rio. We've got no tourists here,'' said Humm.

"It's a known fact that the bulk of our medals are likely to come from our swim team. We have a group of eight who are all top five in the world and swimming really well, so there is the expectation that the bulk will come from them, backed up by our bike team who are all in form and have competed well at the last world champs.

"I don't think it's any fluke we're in the position we're in now. We have a talent identification programme and development programme that's seeing young athletes from the age of five, six and seven, and we're targeting them for four to eight years down the track.''

- APNZ

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf03 at 22 Dec 2014 16:17:27 Processing Time: 488ms