INDEPENDENT NEWS

Papatoetoe Father Wins Paralympic Hearts

Published: Wed 16 Aug 2000 11:54 AM
A Papatoetoe man is on his way to the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games, thanks to the gratitude of the New Zealand team.
Sponsor Telecom is sending Jack Flood to the Paralympics, after asking team members to nominate a supporter who deserved to be there with them.
Mr Flood was nominated by his son Ross, who will represent New Zealand in the paralympic sport of boccia [pro: BOT-cha], a cross between indoor bowls and petanque.
Ross wanted to recognise his parents for seeing beyond his cerebral palsy and fighting for his future. His mother Rona has passed away.
“Ross told us his parents raised him in the 50s and 60s, constantly grappling with a less enlightened system which labelled him a vegetable,” says Telecom’s Community Relations Advisor Linda Harrison
“Telecom’s awarded this trip to Jack Flood because of the foresight he and Rona showed in believing their son could lead a full life – he has since graduated from university and is now an athlete who represents his country,” Ms Harrison says.
“It’s also a way of recognising all the families, friends, coaches and supporters who’ve helped make these athletes what they are,” she says.
Telecom has also awarded a trip to another nominee, Wanganui rider Keryn McOmish. Keryn, who has Gillian Barre Syndrome [pro: GILL-e-an BAR-ay], was nominated by New Zealand’s equestrian competitor Jayne Craike.
Jayne said even though Keryn had just missed out on a place in the team to her, she was continuing to work selflessly to support other disabled riders.
Telecom is sponsoring the elite New Zealand athletes with disabilities who will make their bid for gold at the Sydney games from 18-31 October this year.
The 43-strong team will compete in events as diverse as swimming, athletics, sailing, powerlifting, archery, wheelchair tennis, equestrian, wheelchair rugby, shooting, cycling and boccia.
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