Christchurch man in six-strong team to compete World Para Athletics Championships

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Apr 08, 2023 |

Four-time Paralympic medallist Will Stedman / TASOS KATOPODIS/GETTY IMAGES

A Christchurch man is among Athletics New Zealand’s six-strong team to compete at the 2023 World Para Athletics Championships in Paris in July.

Four-time Paralympic medallist Will Stedman, who competes in the men’s 400m T36 and men’s long jump T36 has made the team.

Set for his fourth World Para Athletics Championship appearance, the 24-year-old athlete will seek to be in the medal picture once more in the French capital having won long jump T36 silver and 400m T36 bronze at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.

Will has performed with pride during the 2022-23 domestic season, setting a national record for the men’s 400m T36 with a time of 53.55 in Tauranga in December.

William said: “It is always exciting to compete for New Zealand and this is a great dress rehearsal for the Paris Paralympic Games next year.”

“It was awesome to run a national record in my first 400m for 18 months in Tauranga in December. I hope to be in my very best form in Paris in July, and the goal is to win two medals.”

All five New Zealand Tokyo Paralympic medallists return to the team for what will be the first global championship for Para athletes for two years following the postponement of the 2022 World Para Athletics Championships in Kobe, Japan.

William Stedman as a 16-year-old in Rio, where he won two Paralympic Games track bronze medals as a 16-year-old. FRIEDEMANN VOGEL/GETTY IMAGES

Paralympic shot put champion Lisa Adams, will be seeking to claim back-to-back World Para Athletics Championship gold medals following her breakout victory at the last edition in Dubai 2019.

Rotorua-based Adams, 32, who holds the world shot put F37 record of 15.50m, is in excellent form and leads the world rankings with her best of 15.19m registered at the Jennian Homes New Zealand Track & Field Championships in March.

Two-time Paralympic champion Anna Grimaldi will also be looking for more success as she competes in the women’s long jump T47 and 100m T47.

The 26-year-old Dunedin-based athlete is set for her fourth World Para Athletics Championships appearance having won long jump T47 bronze on her debut in 2015 and upgraded to silver in the 2019 edition.

Anna leads the world rankings in the long jump T47 with a season’s best of 5.87m and expect her to be competitive in the 100m having this season come within 0.01 of her lifetime best of 12.60.

The vastly experienced Tokyo Paralympic javelin T46 champion Holly Robinson has been selected for what will be her sixth World Para Athletics Championships.

After making her debut at the 2011 edition, the Dunedin-based athlete has gone on to snag three silver and one bronze medal at the world championships.

Holly, 28, who underwent elbow surgery in late-January is entered in her speciality the women’s javelin F46 and the women’s shot put F46 – an event where she was ranked second in the world in 2022.

Sprinter Danielle Aitchison, who claimed silver and bronze medals in the women’s 200m and 100m T36 respectively at the Tokyo Paralympics, is set to compete in both sprint events in Paris.

The 21-year-old Hamilton-based athlete made her international debut appearance at the 2019 World Para Athletics Championships winning a breakthrough 200m T36 silver medal.

Danielle has enjoyed a fruitful 2023 campaign and currently leads the world rankings in both the 100m and 200m T36.

The team is rounded out by Mitch Joynt, who has been selected in the men’s 200m T64.

The Auckland-based sprinter reached the final of the 200m T64 at the 2019 World Para Athletics Championships and demonstrated his current form by blitzing to an Oceania 200m T64 record of 23.36 at the Jennian Homes New Zealand Track & Field Championships in Wellington last month.

Raylene Bates, the Athletics New Zealand Team Leader for the 2023 World Para Athletics Championships, said: “We are delighted with the quality of our team in Paris and with a number of athletes ranked in the top three in the world in their events we go into the World Para Athletics Championships full of optimism.”

Anna, who made her World Para Athletics debut eight years ago as an 18-year-old in Doha, said: “I’m privileged to be able to compete for my country again and to do so in Paris ahead of next year’s Paris Paralympic Games is really exciting.

“This year’s event is a good opportunity to see where I am placed against the best in the world in our first big overseas event in two years. I hope to jump and run my best in July – and ahead of the big dance (the Paris Paralympic Games) next year, it will be an incredibly important opportunity to put things in place as a springboard for success next year.”

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

Have you got a news tip? Get in touch here

got a news tip?