NZ Paralympic boss unhappy with Tokyo Games broadcast

8:41 am on 31 August 2021

The head of Paralympics New Zealand has criticised the coverage of the Tokyo Games by broadcaster TVNZ.

Danielle Aitchison with the New Zealand flag after finishing second in the women's 200m T36 at the Olympic Stadium, Tokyo, Japan 29/8/2021.

Danielle Aitchison with the New Zealand flag after finishing second in the women's 200m T36. Photo: INPHO/Tommy Dickson

Fiona Allan, chief executive of Paralympics New Zealand, is grateful the Games are being broadcast free to air on TVNZ channel One and Duke and online.

However, she said some of the coverage of New Zealand athletes was disappointing and detracted from their results.

"With fans unable to travel to Japan to cheer our Paralympians on in Tokyo, it has meant a huge amount to the New Zealand Paralympic Team to know Kiwis back home are watching and sending messages of heartfelt support. We know that our Paralympians have been giving people enjoyment during the current Level 4 lockdown.

"However, there have also been frustration's for those viewing some of the coverage. TVNZ have a contractual arrangement to take a live feed from the host broadcaster in Tokyo and have sent a small crew and production team to Japan to try to capture as much live reaction from our Para athletes as possible.

"We are disappointed in some of the decisions made in cutting away from events featuring New Zealand Paralympians at important moments, or not showing certain competitions at all. 

"As a National Paralympic Committee, we believe Para sport can transform lives and therefore Kiwis experiencing the Paralympic Games through the broadcast is critical."

Allan's comments came after Williams Stedman won silver in the T36 long jump on Monday night.

William Stedman

William Stedman Photo: Photosport

He was in sixth place until his final jump where he beat his personal best to seal second place finish.

However, viewers in New Zealand didn't get to see the dramatic ending live.

TVNZ's Duke channel coverage focused on the track, and the live stream on its website with the official Paralympics feed cut away from the long jump to the javelin before the final round of jumps.