22 Sep 2008

Medal-winning Paralympians return home

7:20 am on 22 September 2008

Many of the New Zealand Paralympian squad, including three medallists, returned to the country from the Paralympic Games in Beijing on Sunday.

The team won 12 medals in total.

Among those who arrived at Auckland airport on Sunday included swimmer Cameron Leslie, 18, who secured a gold medal with a world-record time in the 150m individual medley.

"I couldn't believe that a disability event had filled up the stadium just the same as the able bodied did for the Olympics," he said.

Kate Horan, who won silver in the 200m sprint, had competed in the last Paralympic games as well.

"This time round the crowds were just unbelievable, I mean I just had shivers down my spine when I went into the stadium for the first time."

Shooter Michael Johnson who notched a bronze, also returned to the country.

Christchurch swimmer Sophie Pascoe, 15, who won three golds and a silver, is due back in the next few weeks.

Chef de Mission Duane Kale said he was proud of the tean's results, and organisers are now looking ahead to the London games in four years' time.