SEARCH FOR NEW ZEALAND'S PARALYMPIANS

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Disabled Snowsports New Zealand Alpine Week started at Cardrona today with the first of a series of races and training days aimed at producing the next New Zealand Paralympians.



Gillian Hall, president of Disabled Snowsports New Zealand said that since the retirement of Paralympians Rachel Batterspby and Patrick Cooper, the field is wide open for new talent to come through.



"We've got about eight athletes here whose goals are to become members of the New Zealand Disabled Ski Team and ultimately Paralympians," she said. "We're also trying to encourage disabled snowboarders to participate. If we get good numbers we can put some pressure on the international bodies to include snowboarding as a demo event in the 2010 Paralympics programme which would be fantastic."



Barry Cardno of Wanaka, who lost the use of his legs following a plane crash, is high on the list of potential team members having won both the Bendigo Valley Foundation Super G and Southern Trust Giant Slalom during this morning's racing. Dunedin University student, Anthony Field, a single arm amputee, also did well this morning taking second in the Giant Slalom and fourth in the Super G. Lone snowboarder, Adam Hall from Taeiri won second in the Super G and third in the Giant Slalom.



As well as the race development camp, the event also includes a ski week for disabled skiers and snowboarders wanting to get out on the snow. Participants benefit from lessons and fun races with the aim of encouraging disabled people from all over the country to enjoy the thrills of skiing and snowboarding. The athletes feature a variety of disabilities ranging from single and double amputees to spinal injuries and the visually impaired.

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