Paralympic Team Named

One will get to defend her title.

The other will look to go one better.

Otago Paralympic duo Anna Grimaldi and Holly Robinson were confirmed in the New Zealand team for the Tokyo Games yesterday.

The Paralympics had been set for last year, but were postponed to August 24 this year alongside the Olympics due to Covid-19.

The third Otago para-athlete many would have expected to see has announced her retirement from the sport aged 30.

Shot putter Jess Gillan, who won a bronze medal in the F34 shot put at the Rio Games, revealed she is 15 weeks pregnant with twins.

Gillan, who had qualified for the Games, decided to withdraw from contention.

 

The Kiwi Paralympian who is now an avatar in a video game

Athlete Holly Robinson has spent years critiquing herself in her quest for perfection in her field of javelin.

Now the 26-year-old will cast another critical eye on her performance when she gets to play the official video game of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics – in which she features as an avatar.

“I think I will be quite critical of myself, but it will just so fun and exciting to see myself in this game, and see my avatar,” the Dunedin-based athlete said.

Robinson posing during the team presentation for the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games, at which she was the flag bearer.
HAGEN HOPKINS/GETTY IMAGES
Robinson posing during the team presentation for the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games, at which she was the flag bearer.

Robinson, who won the silver medal at Rio in 2016, was the only New Zealand athlete and one of only nine around world to be chosen for the game, which was released on Monday night.

Less than 100 days out from the competition, she said her focus firmly on the Games and to “throw the best I can”, but that she had not wanted to pass up the chance of being in a computer game.

“When you get opportunities like this it is really cool.”

The official game of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, named The Pegasus Dream Tour, has been created by Japan's JP Games.

The game places players into a virtual Paralympic Games held in a fantasy, futuristic, inclusive and diverse metropolis known as Pegasus City.

Players can equip themselves with prosthetic arms, legs and wheelchairs and train in a number of para-sports including 5-a-side football, athletics and wheelchair basketball.

An avatar of Dunedin-based Paralympian Holly Robinson.
JP GAMES/SUPPLIED
An avatar of Dunedin-based Paralympian Holly Robinson.

Their characters can also explore the city while participating in different competitions.

Robinson, who was the flag-bearer at the 2016 Rio Games, said the game was a fun and innovative way of getting people interested in the Paralympics.

'’It is going to be really exciting that people get to experience these sports, these paralympic sports, in this video game.'’

While she was under strict orders not to discuss it prior to the worldwide launch, she had been offered a sneak peek of her avatar, which was exciting and ''a bit nerve-wracking''.

The game also showcased parts of Dunedin, she said.

While Robinson’s partner is an avid gamer, she plays only occasionally, but said she planned to buy some copies for her family and friends.

With the countdown on to the Tokyo Games, Robinson said her training and preparation was “really coming together”.

“I’m just looking forward to throwing as far as I can on the day.”

She conceded that these Covid-19 affected Games would make Tokyo unlike the previous two she had competed in.

Robinson, who had her first Covid-19 vaccine last week, was confident the Games would go ahead, and said she was only thinking about her competition on September 3.

The Japanese-based JP Games company partnered with New Zealand’s Centre of Digital Excellence (CODE), a Dunedin-based video game hub, to develop its Paralympics game.

CODE establishment director Tim Ponting said the game was an important milestone in the developing New Zealand video game industry, which was embracing diversity “in a way that hasn't been seen in the video game industry elsewhere in the world”.

“It will be a fantastic encouragement for young people in New Zealand to get involved in the industry and to get involved in sports at the same time.

The Pegasus Dream Tour launches on the App Store and Google Play Store on June 24.

Robinson has been made into an avatar, along with other Paralympics competitors.
Robinson has been made into an avatar, along with other Paralympics competitors.

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