Sophie Pascoe withdraws from Paris Paralympics after birth of first child

Sophie Pascoe at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games in 2022. Photo: Getty
Sophie Pascoe at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games in 2022. Photo: Getty
Christchurch-based athlete Dame Sophie Pascoe has officially withdrawn her nomination to compete at this year's Paralympic Games in Paris.

It comes just weeks after she announced the birth of her first child.

Dame Sophie, New Zealand's most-decorated Paralympian, was on the long list for nomination for the games, which will be held from 28 August-8 September.

"Although I'll miss the opportunity to represent New Zealand in Paris, this decision comes as a result of recently becoming a new mother and I am wholeheartedly embracing this new chapter in my life," she said in a statement on Monday.

"Representing New Zealand is an honour and privilege and I remain committed to contributing my experience and knowledge to the New Zealand team in their preparations.

"This is not an announcement of retirement from competitive swimming, rather I am looking ahead to potential competitions in 2025 and beyond."

The swimming star said she would lead the cheer squad for the New Zealand team from home.

Paralympics New Zealand chief executive Greg Warnecke said the team would benefit from knowing they had Dame Sophie behind them.

"It's such an exciting time for Dame Sophie and her family, and we know she will be helping spread the news about the performances of our Paralympians at Paris 2024 with everyone."

Dame Sophie has represented New Zealand at four Paralympics, winning 11 gold, seven silver and one bronze medal.