Robinson, Malone inspire young Para athletes

The two New Zealand Paralympians met with aspiring athletes at a talent identification camp.

Woman throws a javelin New Zealand's Holly Robinson at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. © • Getty Images

Back in September 2013, then New Zealand teenagers Holly Robinson and Liam Malone were doing their best to impress coaches at a Para athletics talent identification camp in Dunedin. Fast forward six and a half years, and the pair of Rio 2016 Paralympic medal winners are back where it all began.

In early May, 18 aspiring Para athletes were invited to attend an Athletics New Zealand Talent Identification Camp at AUT Millennium in Auckland. The camp targeted Para athletes across the North Island who expressed an interest in competitive Para athletics. There was a diverse mix of experience, age and classification.

The camp commenced with a Para athletics information session from Athletics New Zealand National Para Athletics Head Coach, Raylene Bates. The group then took to the track for a group warm-up led by Robinson and Malone before showing their abilities across a range of track and field events. Performance measures were collected for all athletes in jumping, throwing and running events to allow coaches to assess where each individual’s potential may lie.

During the lunch break, the two New Zealand Paralympians shared their experiences from having been in a very similar position four years ago to Paralympic medallists in 2016, with athletes and coaches getting the opportunity to ask the Paralympians questions.

From here it was back to the track for some hard training and coaching advice before a relaxing stretch and cool down, again led by Robinson.

The talent identification camp also served as the first official training camp for the young team selected for the inaugural World Junior Para Athletics Championships to be held in Switzerland in August. Team members Anna Stevens, Jack Lewer, Libby Leikis and Guy Harrison received their official team uniform and met team manager, Jonathon Black.

More information on the Athletics New Zealand Talent Identification Camp can be found on Paralympics New Zealand’s website.