Swimming star Sophie Pascoe delighted with Paralympic funding increase

  • 10/10/2018

Champion New Zealand swimmer Sophie Pascoe is delighted Paralympic athletes will be entitled to the same financial grants as their able-bodied counterparts.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Tuesday the two new High Performance Sport New Zealand initiatives to support athletes at a Paralympic New Zealand function.

Para athletes will now see the grants increased by up to $20,000, while Ardern also announced a health insurance plan for all carded athletes.

"It's only fair that para athletes will be rewarded for their outstanding achievements in an equitable way," she said.

"You are part of a worldwide social change movement which uses the power of sport to promote a more diverse and inclusive society - an objective that is right in line with what this government seeks to achieve."

Speaking to The Project, Pascoe said the financial benefit will ensure the focus for the athlete can be 100 percent set on winning medals in Tokyo 2020 and beyond.

"It's a massive milestone for New Zealand sport, but also for us as para-athletes to focus solely on the sport and not have to worry about where we find funding to fund our campaigns," Pascoe said.

"We all have huge goals, and it's going to be a massive difference for a lot of us - it is a huge increase and obviously money goes a long way, so it's going to help us focus on training in order to achieve those goals."

Pascoe recently underwent minor surgery on her left leg, which assisted in her getting into a more advanced system of prosthetic, which will help her way of life.

Pascoe has only just resumed training - building towards a busy 2019 schedule.

"The recovery has been a bit longer than expected, but now I'm back in the pool and tracking towards the world champs next year."