On Saturday, Paralympics New Zealand held a talent identification day at North Arena in Auckland. The event was looking for new S14 class swimmers. S14 swimmers are classified as having an intellectual disability.
At the 2012 Summer Paralympics, the country sent 8 swimmers to London, none of them S14 classified swimmers despite the return of Paralympic competitors with intellectual disabilities to the games following an absence after cheating at the 2000 Summer Paralympics in Sydney.
High Performance Sport New Zealand has set a target of 8 to 12 gold medals at the 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio. Following disappointing results for the Olympic team in London, a review was taken of the sport, and there was a guarenteed forecast of considerably less funding for it as a result from 2013 to 2014 to the tune of around NZ$1.4 million. No mention was made in “High Performance Programme Investment to National Sport Organisations 2013-2016” of the impact of this decision on Paralympic swimming.
Swimming has traditionally been one of the country’s most competitive Paralympic sports. 18 of New Zealand’s 45 Paralympic medals at the 2008 and 2012 Summer Paralympics came from swimming.