New Zealand Announces PyeongChang 2018 Squad

Corey Peters

AUCKLAND, New Zealand – New Zealand has named its squad for the 2018 Paralympic Games in PyeongChang with four athletes named to the squad on Wednesday. Four time Paralympian Adam Hall will be joined by defending silver medalist Corey Peters, Carl Murphy, and debutant Aaron Ewen.

Hall comes into the Paralympic Games as a word champion and will be a favorite to win the men’s slalom standing which he won gold in. That gives Hall a strong chance of winning his second gold medal after claiming the gold in Vancouver in 2010.

Murphy will be coming into his second Paralympic Games, looking to fight for a medal which just eluded him in the banked slalom as he finished fourth. Murphy has been fighting through injury for the last two years to get back into form and even had surgery to fight for 2018 selection, which he has received, rewarding his hard work. At 38 this will certainly be the last Paralympic Games for Murphy, who would have competed in more had Snowboard been in the Paralympic Games earlier, as an early pioneer of the sport in New Zealand.

Peters was the only New Zealand medalist in the 2014 Paralympic or Olympic Games, winning a silver medal in the men’s giant slalom sitting. Peters has continued his form over the recent years and won two silver medals in the 2017 World Championships in the Men’s Downhill Sitting and Super-G Sitting, putting him in with a strong chance of winning a medal in Korea Republic.

The final member of the squad is Ewen as he will make his Paralympic Games debut in alpine skiing, impressing in his first season. Ewen based himself in the United States for the 2017 season before coming back to New Zealand for winter training. In the 2017 season Ewen managed five podium finishes in the world cup season.


Indian Paralympian Called to High Court

CHENNAI, T.N., India – Rio 2016 T42 High Jump gold medalist Mariyappan Thangavelu has received some unwelcome attention as he has been called into the Madras High Court following a court order on Tuesday.

Justice Ramesh of the high court issued the order, after previously listing Mariyappan as a respondant in a murder case. The case concerns the death of a 19 year-old Satish Kumar with Mariyappan called in as a potential defendant.

Kumar was found dead near railway tracks in the town of Salem in Tamil Nadu state, this death came after an alleged collision with Mariyappan. The question in the case is whether the death was an accident because of the collision or whether there was any further assault of Kumar as part of the incident.

The allegation is that after Kumar hit Mariyappan’s car, Mariyappan and his friends, in the car with Mariyappan at the time, grabbed Kumar and assaulted him. Allegedly Kumar escaped and returned home only for the group to grab him again, steal his phone and assault him again.

The accusations stem from the victims mother, who attempted to get a police investigation into the matter staged, but that ended up not happening. When that attempt failed she appealed to Justice Ramesh, who took this motion on Tuesday.

Following an attempt from the magistrate to get Mariyappan to respond to the case on September 11th went unanswered, this request takes it one further. Following the request Mariyappan will have to respond with the investigation proceeding from here.



Australia Announces 2018 Team Captains

Joany Badenhorst (Australian Paralympic Committee)

SYDNEY OLYMPIC PARK, NSW, Australia – The Australian Paralympic Committee has announced its team captains for the 2018 Paralympic Games in PyeongChang, Korea Republic with Joany Badenhorst and Mitch Gourley given the honor in an announcement on Tuesday.

For Badenhorst the announcement caps what has been an impressive comeback over the past four years following an injury which kept her out of the action in Sochi. While warming up at the 2014 Paralympic Games Badenhorst had a horror crash after hitting a corner on the edge, breaking several bones and forcing her to completely adjust how she snowboards.

That crash cost Badenhorst her Paralympic Games debut, having to withdraw from her events, and potentially could have ended her snowboarding career. But Badenhorst has come back and since that crash has returned to her best form, setting her up to be a real force in PyeongChang in February.

Badenhorst comes into the 2018 Paralympic Games having won the 2016/17 Crystal Globe in Snowboard Cross, making her the world number one in the event. She will head to the Korea Republic with a target on her back as she competes in that event and the Banked Slalom.

The other athlete with the captaincy will be on the opposite side of the experience spectrum with Gourley about to enter his third Paralympic Games. Gourley will be coming into the 2018 Paralympic Games on career best form, having won the 2017 World Championship in the Men’s Super Combined Standing event. That comes after finishing the season earlier in third place in the world rankings and will leave Gourley with a big chance of a gold medal.

Memorable Performances Close World Para Dance Sport Championships

Action at the World Para Dance Sport Championships (Photo: International Paralympic Committee)

MALLE, Belgium – The final day of competition at the World Para Dance Sport Championships saw some stunning performances and titles defended in a phenomenal day of dancing in Malle, Belgium on Sunday.

Filipino duo Rhea Marquez and Jun Julius Obero defended their combi freestyle class 2 in dramatic circumstances, drawing rapturous applause from the crowd for their performance to Roxette’s It Must Have Been Love. The win for the pair was especially impressive with Marquez struggling with an injured shoulder throughout the event, which was especially bothering her on Sunday. The other medalists were Kiyomi Otake and Koichi Omae of Japan, and Kazakh pair Malika Muktarova and Vladislav Sahno.

It was a Ukrainian double in the combi freestyle class 1 with Natalia Chekhonatska and Pavlo Ivliushkin just beating out fellow Ukraine duo Veronika Pedchenko and Valeriy Bevzyuk. The Eastern European podium was completed by Kazakhstan pair Aidana Beglenova and Ardak Otorbayev.

Ukrainian success continued in the women’s freestyle class 2 with Olena Chynka managing a beautiful performance to claim the gold easily, winning her fourth gold of the event. Mexican Haydee Guadalupe Guerrero Reynosa managed her silver while young Kazakh dancer Malika Muktarova delighted the crowd with her performance of The Weather Girls’ It’s Raining Men earning bronze for her performance.

Mexico continued to be a strong force in the singles freestyle dances, with Jesus Yermain Angeles Fernandez defending his title in the men’s single freestyle class 2. The win reflected his diversity of dance, having won in 2015 with hip hop, switching to jazz in 2017. It was a tight finish with Fernandez finishing just ahead of Japanese dancer Koichi Omae, while another medal came to Ukraine with Ivan Sivak finishing in third.

There was an interesting performance in the women’s single freestyle class 1 with Kazakh dancer Karlygash Tynabekova doing a risky Bollywood performance which was rewarded by the judges with the gold. Ukraine continued its impressive form in the freestyle performances as Natalia Chekhonatska and Snejana Kernichnaya finishing out the podium.

There was a Belarusian double in the combi standard events, with Iryna Makeichyk and Yauhen Yarmoshka winning in class 1, with Ukrainians Illona Slugovyna and Andrii Tovstyi in second and Kazakhs in third with Beglenova and Otorbayev. For the Kazakhs it was their second bronze medal not just of the meet, but of just the day.

In class 2 Hanna Harchakova claimed her second straight title, partnering with Roman Usmanov to win all five standard dances for a big win. Korean duo Juhee Hwang and Kangwon Cho came second with Slovakian Maria Dutkova and Martin Solc rounding out the podium.

Hong Kong’s Ma Wah Keung won the men’s class 1 freestyle with Slovenian Amir Alibabic and Korean Daeson Kim completing the podium.

World Para Taekwondo Championships get Underway With Upsets

Amy Trusdale (GBR) on her way to gold (Photo: World Taekwondo)

LONDON, Eng., United Kingdom – The World Para Taekwondo Championships got underway with a thrilling opening day at the Copper Box in London on Thursday with home wins and upsets the order of the day.

The home crowd was happy with British champion Amy Truesdale became a world champion in the women’s K44 over 58kg category. Truesdale came in as the favorite and, unlike many, avoided an upset, winning after Moroccan Rajae Akermach had to withdraw due to injury while losing 17-3.

Shocks came in the men’s K44 over and over again with the world number two, American Corbin Stacey, and world number three, Iranian Asghar Aziziaghdam eliminated in the first round of competition. The world number one Evan Medell of the USA was eliminated by Croatian defending champion Ivan Mikulic in the semifinal producing another shock. But in the final he couldn’t defend his title with Russian Aliskhab Ramazanov claiming the win with a big 35-19 win.

The women’s K44 up to 58kg classification saw Danish fighter Lisa Gjessing claim her fourth title, maintaining her perfect record. Gjessing demolished the Russian Ayshat Ramazanova 34-9 to win the gold, with her two daughters in the crowd.

The final event of the day was the men’s K43 up to 61kg category and there was yet another upset in that event as Frenchman Bopha King did not manage to win. He was beaten in the final by Spaniard Vidal Alvarez in an impressive performance.

The most notable other performance of the day went to an athlete who managed to avoid the string of stunning upsets with Iranian Mahdi Pourrahnama continuing his hot run of form in the K44 up to 75kg category for gold there.

Para Taekwondo World Rankings Updated Ahead of World Championships

SEOUL, Korea Republic – World Para Taekwondo has released the World Rankings for October, with the World Championships coming up beginning on the 19th of October the rankings list reveals the favourites for the different events.

Following the Pan Am Open in September, the rankings have changed again with a number of South, Central, and North American athletes leaping up the rankings.

Argentinian Facundo Andres Novik jumped up six places in the men’s under 61kg K44 rankings to come into the World Championships ranked third in the world. The biggest mover in the rankings was Costa Rican Edwin Pizarro who moved up 12 points to come up to 11th while Larrando Dreke became the first Cuban fighter to get a ranking, coming in at 24th.

In the men’s 75kg rankings Russian Vladimir Feofanov jumped up to 5th after previously sitting in 11th, while the biggest mover was Costa Rican Andres Molina, jumping seven spots to seventh. American Felix Sabates finds himself in second jumping up from fifth after his performance in Costa Rica.

American Evan Medell has finally taken the world number one ranking in the men’s over 75kg K44 division with his third title of the season. The biggest mover in the division was fellow American Johnny Birch who jumped up 20 places to sit in 10th in a tight division.

Guatemalan Gersson Mejia moved into the top three of the under 61kg K43 division jumping two positions up. In the Under 75kg K42 American Daniel Espinosa jumped to fourth after winning the Pan Am championship.

Peruvian Leonor Espinoza Carranza entered the women’s under 49kg rankings after winning her first career title at the Pan Ams, jumping into the rankings in eighth place. Another first time winner, Mexican Jessica Garcia Quijano entered the rankings in sixth in the women’s under 58kg K44 classification.

In the women’s over 58kg K44 division American Alyssa Fencil was the biggest mover, jumping up eight positions to fifth after winning the Pan Am title. The world championships will take place at the Copper Box Arena in London on the 19th of October.

IPC Reschedules Para Swimming and Powerlifting World Championships

MEXICO CITY, Mexico – The International Paralympic Committee (IPC) has announced new dates for the World Para Swimming and World Para Powerlifting Championships to be held in Mexico City as the 2017 Para Sport Festival.

The events were postponed due to the earthquake in Mexico City last month and will now take place from the 27th of November to the 7th of December. Both events will remain in Mexico City with no worries about the venues being damaged in the earthquake.

Originally the event was slated to begin on the 30th of September through to the 6th of October, but the earthquake which hit Mexico City on the 19th of September made it an unsafe environment to host the event, leading to the postponement.

After announcing the changed event date teams now have a new date to submit their final squads to the IPC, they will have until Sunday (October 8th) to finalize and register their squads ahead of the events.

“After extensive dialogue, it is clear that both the Local Organising Committee and City Mexico are eager and very passionate about rescheduling the 2017 Para Sport Festival,” said IPC President Andrew Parsons. They want to show to the world that Mexico City is open and that life and business is continuing. At the same time, the feedback from the IPC membership is that they are keen for the Championships to go ahead.”

“After carrying out all of the necessary safety checks on the venues, team hotels and all related infrastructure, we have decided to reschedule the Championships for two months later than originally planned.”

The decision was taken as part of solidarity with Mexico City, to continue the IPCs effort to support the city as it recovers from the earthquake, with the Agitos Foundation raising $40,000.