Dana Johannsen is the NZ Herald's chief sports reporter

Paralympics: Pair round out Kiwi team

Javelin athlete Caitlin Dore and sprinter Jacob Phillips at the Para-Athletics team announcement. Photo / Getty
Javelin athlete Caitlin Dore and sprinter Jacob Phillips at the Para-Athletics team announcement. Photo / Getty

New Zealand has rounded out its team for the Rio Paralympics with the selection of two further para-athletes.

Caitlin Dore and Jacob Phillips will join the six athletes named earlier this year, after Paralympics New Zealand were reallocated an addition female and male slot for the Games.

The pair join javelin thrower Holly Robinson, shot-putter Jessica Hamill, and rising stars Rory McSweeney (track), Liam Malone (track), Anna Grimaldi (track and field) and William Stedman (track and field) in the para-athletics team.

Today's announcement marks the final selection for the Rio Games, bringing the total New Zealand team to 29. Collectively the team is chasing a total of 18 medals for New Zealand, including 12 gold.

Phillips, who will concentrate on the sprint events in Rio, didn't expect his paralympic dream to be realised so soon.

The 19-year-old, who has mild celebral palsy, was forced to put his athletics career on hold last year after he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma shortly after beginning University in Otago.

He endured eight rounds of chemotheraphy and 15 sessions of radiation treatment before being given the all-clear to get back into training, at which stage Phillips had refocused on Tokyo 2020.

Phillips said he was shocked at how quickly he got back to full speed after his gruelling treatment.

"I've bounced back pretty well, this season was just supposed to be a rebuilding season. My focus was just on getting back to full health and maybe getting to a few competitions," said Phillips.

"Ultimately, I didn't really expect anything amazing, so to get a few personal bests and do the qualifying was pleasant surprise."

Phillips will compete in the T36 100m and 200m sprint events in Rio.

Dore's rise in athletes came after a move to Dunedin last year to train under Raylene Bates, who steered the youngster into the javelin event. Having previously concentrated on shotput and discus, Dore had immediate success in the javelin, finishing eighth at last year's IPC athletics world championships in Doha.

The Rio Paralympics will run from September 7-18, getting underway around three weeks after the conclusion of the Olympic Games.

- NZ Herald

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