6 Sep 2008

Sholto Taylor to carry NZ flag at Paralympics

6:09 am on 6 September 2008

Veteran wheelchair rugby player Sholto Taylor will carry the New Zealand flag at the opening ceremony of the 13th Paralympic Games in Beijing on Saturday night.

Taylor is competing in his fourth Paralympics, and has two bronze medals and a gold from previous Games.

New Zealand chef de mission Duane Kale says the 36-year-old Wheelblack is a key member of the squad and deserves the flag-bearing honour.

Most of the New Zealand athletes and officials will take part in the opening ceremony, with the exception of the Boccia players and cyclists, who are competing the next day.

Thirty athletes will represent New Zealand, hoping to emulate the success of the Athens 2004 squad, which returned home with a swag of 10 medals.

The Games, from 6-17 September, include archery, cycling, equestrian and wheelchair basketball, fencing and rugby. For the first time, five-a-side and seven-a-side football, rowing, sailing, boccia and goalball will be part of the competition.

NZ team at Paralympics

In athletics, Matthew Slade and Tim Prendergast are both attending their third Paralympics and are considered strong medal contenders. Slade, who won gold in the 200m at Athens, will defend his title and also compete in the 100m. Prendergast will compete in the 1,500m and the 5,000m. Four years ago, he claimed gold in the 800m.

The team selected to defend the Wheel Blacks' title in Wheelchair Rugby boast plenty of experience, with six of the eight members of the squad original members of the Athens 2004 team. Curtis Palmer and Sholto Taylor are attending their fourth Paralympics and hold bronze medals from both the Sydney 2000 and Atlanta 1996 Games.

Shooter Michael Johnson will aim to match the gold medal he won in Athens 2004. He will compete in the 10m Air Rifle Prone and the 10m Air Rifle Standing.

Veteran powerlifter George Taamaru is competing in his third Paralympic Games and has represented New Zealand at two Commonwealth Games competitions.

In swimming, Daniel Sharp, who won a bronze medal in Athens, competes in the 100m breaststroke, 50m freestyle and 100m freestyle. He is joined in the pool by 15-year-old Sophie Pascoe and Cameron Leslie, aged 18.


Athletics - Terry Faleva'ai, Matthew Slade, Jessica Hamill, Kate Horan and Tim Prendergast.

Boccia - Liam Sanders, Greig Jackson, Maurice Toon, Kerri Bonner, Amanda Slade, Henderikus Dijkstra and Jeremy Morriss.

Cycling - Paula Tesoriero, Ann-Marie Donaldson, Annaliisa Farrell, Jayne Parsons and Fiona Southorn.

Powerlifting - George Taamaru.

Shooting - Michael Johnson.

Swimming - Daniel Sharp, Sophie Pascoe and Cameron Leslie.

Wheelchair Rugby - Curtis Palmer, Sholto Taylor, Jai Waite, Daniel Buckingham, Geremy Tinker, Adam Wakeford, David Klinkhamer and Tim Johnson.

Some source material from: New Zealand Olympic Committee, Beijing Organising Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad