22 Feb 2022

NZ Paralympians 'ready to get into it'

6:29 am on 22 February 2022

The New Zealand Paralympic team heads to Beijing this week, excited about competition after watching the Olympic Games.

The team is bouyant. "We have enjoyed watching the thrills of the Olympic Games and we are ready to get into it," says Paralympian Adam Hall.

2022 NZ Winter Paralympic team members Corey Peters, Adam hall and Aaron Ewan.

Peters, Hall and Ewan Photo: Paralympics NZ

Three Para alpine skiers will represent New Zealand at the Paralympic Winter Games, with Corey Peters and Aaron Ewen competing in the sitting category, and Adam Hall competing in the standing category.

Hall and Peters are no strangers to the Paralympics, having achieved multiple medals for New Zealand in past Paralympic Winter Games.

Hall, competing in his fifth Winter Paralympics, will be looking to add to his two gold medals and a bronze. Having finished the recent World Championships with a silver medal, Hall will certainly be targeting the podium in the Slalom in Beijing, and will be one to watch in other Para alpine ski events also.

Peters proved both his speed and his precision on the snow with a silver medal in the Giant Slalom in Sochi 2014 and a bronze in the Downhill in PyeongChang 2018. After three years of no international competitions, Peters blasted back onto the slopes in January with a remarkable fourth place finish in the Giant Slalom at the World Para Snow Sports Championships, following it with a 3rd place finish at the Super G World Cup soon after.

Beijing 2022 will be Aaron Ewen's Paralympic debut, after an injury forced him to withdraw just before the PyeongChang Paralympic Winter Games in 2018. Chef de Mission Jane Stevens describes Ewen as "bringing a whole lot of X-factor and a love of speed". Many will be looking forward to watching this talented young Para athlete from Tuakau.

Five Para alpine ski events are contested at the Winter Paralympics, and the three Para athletes within the New Zealand Paralympic team are likely to compete across both speed and technical disciplines.

Chef de Mission Jane Stevens is proud of what the team have put in to get this far.

"Corey, Aaron and Adam have proven their courage, skill and determination to be selected to the New Zealand Paralympic Team for Beijing. Being selected for the Paralympic Winter Games is an enormous achievement in itself; to get to the Winter Paralympics during the pandemic has been even more challenging. I am thrilled that these three talented Para athletes will be representing our nation in a just over a week in Beijing."

Corey Peters from New Zealand.

Corey Peters Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Stevens says the team are in great mental and physical shape and looking forward to the experience of Beijing 2022.

"The New Zealand Paralympic Team has an impressive history at the Paralympic Winter Games. New Zealand Paralympians have punched above their weight, bringing home 31 medals since their first appearance in 1980. The current team have their eyes on medals and want to make New Zealand proud."

"We're working really hard to ensure that Adam, Corey and Aaron have everything they need to perform to their peak," said Stevens. "Our role is providing an atmosphere which lets them do what they do best, and to that end, we have a fantastic support team who work closely together."

The Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games have rigorous Covid-19 protocols in place, with daily testing, physical distancing, temperature checks, and a closed loop bubble system in place. And as Stevens points out, the New Zealand Paralympic Team protocols are even more stringent, with the aim of ensuring the safety of all New Zealand Paralympic Team members.

"We have created a performance-focused environment that builds on our team values, encourages compliance with protocols, and is supportive and respectful. Team members understand their roles and responsibility in protecting themselves and others from COVID-19," said Stevens.

New Zealand Paralympic Team athletes will arrive in Beijing this Saturday February 28th. Competition gets underway on Saturday March 5th with the Downhill event.

Paralympian #158 Adam Hall MNZM

Adam is a two-time Paralympic gold medallist and has competed at four Paralympic Winter Games. Diagnosed at birth with spina bifida - a disability that typically leaves people in a wheelchair - Adam says he's "lucky" because he is mobile and able to walk. In 2011, he was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZOM) in the Queen's Birthday Honours, for services to sport.

Following on from his gold medal in the men's standing Slalom at the 2010 Vancouver Games Adam added a bronze medal in Super Combined at the 2018 Games in PyeongChang before winning his second gold medal in Slalom. Adam was bestowed with an incredible honour when he was announced as winner of the Whang Yuon Dai Achievement Award. This is presented to only one male and one female Paralympian at each Paralympic Games who best exemplify the spirit of the Paralympic Games and the Paralympic values.

When he's not on snow Adam also enjoys biking, kayaking, golf and anything outdoors.

Adam Hall from New Zealand.

Adam Hall Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Paralympian #188 Corey Peters

Corey claimed a silver medal in Giant Slalom at the 2014 Sochi Paralympic Winter Games and added a bronze medal in Downhill at the 2018 PyeongChang Games. At the 2021 Para Alpine Skiing World Championships Corey achieved a fourth-place finish in Giant Slalom, and followed it with a 3rd place finish in the Super-G World Cup soon after. Corey was named Snow Sports NZ Overall Athlete of the Year in 2014 and Adaptive Snow Sports Athlete of the Year in 2017, 2016, 2015 and 2014.

Corey's results are made all the more impressive given the fact that he only took up sit-skiing in 2011. The former Taranaki age group and development squad rugby representative's life was turned upside down in September 2009 when he sustained a crushed spinal cord at a motocross event.

Corey now spends his Northern Hemisphere seasons training in Winter Park in the USA and travelling throughout Europe and North America to compete. Back in New Zealand he splits his time between his home base in New Plymouth and training at Cardrona Alpine Resort and at the High Performance Sport New Zealand/Snow Sports NZ Training Centre in Wānaka.

Para athlete Aaron Ewen

In February 2013, shortly after Aaron's 16th birthday, he suffered a huge crash while competing in downhill mountain biking, sustaining a spinal cord injury which left him without movement in his legs. Not one to be held back or miss out on fun, just six months after his accident Aaron tried out sit skiing for the first time. His mates took him up to Mt Ruapehu for a ski lesson and a new passion was born.

Aaron gained his first international podiums in February 2017 with third places in Giant Slalom and Slalom at IPCAS races in Park City, USA. He was selected to the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games team for Pyeongchang but had to withdraw due to injury. He made a successful comeback during the 2019 NZ winter and achieved podium finishes in the Southern Hemisphere Cups, including third in Super-G and second in the Slalom.