Pumped and excited: that’s Wanaka para alpine skier Aaron Ewen (24) after learning he has a second chance to compete at the Paralympics.
Ewen and veteran paralympians Adam Hall (34) and Corey Peters (38) have been announced as the New Zealand Paralympics team for the Beijing Paralympics in March next year.
It is redemption for Ewen, who was selected for PyeongChang 2018 but withdrew after fracturing his hip during training.
“I am pumped . . . [after that injury] I sat on the couch for a very, very long time,” Ewen said on Tuesday.
Ewen gained his first international podiums in 2017 and made a successful comeback during New Zealand’s Southern Hemisphere Cups in 2019.
Belinda Ewen said her son’s selection was “awesome news”.
“Thank you to everyone who has been behind him all the time. He has worked really hard for this so it is a very exciting day,” she said.
Ewen gave special thanks to New Zealand para-alpine ski team coach Matty Graham, who had gone “beyond his job to help us out”.
Graham said because of Covid-19 restrictions, the team had not had its usual northern hemisphere season “but they got a really good break”.
“These guys have been at it for many, many winters in a row so there is a bit of residual fatigue that carries on from season to season . . . They are going into this season extremely fresh, strong and robust and once they get over there they will be able to get their on-snow time up and put all the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together,” Graham said.
Hall, a two-time Paralympic gold medallist, and Peters, who has silver and bronze Paralympics medals, said they were honoured to be selected again and were looking forward to racing in Canada later this month.
Peters said the support team was “world class” and “vital to winning”, particularly as family could not go with them and no spectators were allowed at the Paralympics.
The New Zealand Paralympic team also includes chef de mission Jane Stevens and head coach Ben Adams.