Paralympics athletes keen to give their all

Dunedin Paralympians (from left) Holly Robinson, Jacob Phillips, Rory McSweeney, Jessica Hamill,...
Dunedin Paralympians (from left) Holly Robinson, Jacob Phillips, Rory McSweeney, Jessica Hamill, Caitlin Dore and Anna Grimaldi at High Performance Sport New Zealand yesterday. PHOTO: GERARD O'BRIEN
Things have been ``a bit hectic'' lately for the two late call-ups to the New Zealand Paralympics team, but both are confident of being at their best for the Games in Rio de Janiero next month.

Runner Jacob Phillips and javelin thrower Caitlin Dore were joined by their four fellow Dunedin athletes in being farewelled at a lunch at High Performance Sport New Zealand in the city yesterday.

The competitors leave Dunedin tomorrow morning for 12 days on the Gold Coast before heading to San Diego then Brazil.

Phillips and Dore were both late inclusions in the New Zealand squad after two additional spots opened up a month ago.

Phillips will compete in the T35 100m and 200m sprints, while Dore will line up in the F37 javelin.

``It's been pretty hectic trying to get everything done with injections and things like that,'' Phillips said of the late preparation.

``But it's come together nicely and it's exciting times. I'll be trying to get that perfect run [in Rio]. Whether that's a PB or not, that depends on the day.''

Dore said she was excited to finally be leaving for the Games after a long winter.

``It's been so crazy getting everything organised. There was always the potential [we would get selected] but you just never know.

``I'm just concentrating on putting in my best throw and believing in what I've done in the build-up.''

Anna Grimaldi, who will compete in the T47 long jump and 100m and 200m sprints, said she would be giving her all in the quest for a medal but she could not control how others performed.

``I'm just focused on performing the best I can on the day. I'll be doing everything in my power to ensure that I'm at my best come competition.''

Javelin thrower Rory McSweeney, who will compete in the F44 class, was less conservative about his intentions.

``I just want to throw further than the guy who comes second,'' he said.

``I love being able to put it all on the line in a major competition; that's what I really thrive on.''

Fellow javelin thrower Holly Robinson, who will contest the F46 class, said she would be looking for a personal-best throw.

``As an athlete, you always want to run faster, jump higher or throw further.''

Olympic Games organisers have battled various challenges so far, including concerns about accommodation and water quality, complaints about racing conditions and safety fears in light of a recent series of crimes.

But Robinson said that would not be a distraction.

``Every competition comes with things that aren't going to be right but you've just got to deal with it as an athlete, to be honest.''

Shot putter Jessica Hamill, who will compete in the F34 class, said she was not concerning herself with outside distractions.

``You just need to have common sense. I'm trying not to watch much media about all the negative stuff.''

She was looking forward to some warmer weather and having ``proper'' preparation in the form of two events on the Gold Coast.

``I'll be looking for a PB. If that gives me a medal, that's great, but I can't control what others do.''

Wanaka swimmer Hamish McLean is the sixth Otago competitor competing. He could not be reached for comment yesterday.

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