Paralympics: German track & field star Wojtek Czyz eyes NZ selection in new sport

German Paralympic gold medallist Wojtek Czyz hopes to wear the silver fern, but faces visa issues to achieve that dream

Czyz is a former sprinter and long jumper, who had his left leg amputated at the age of 20, before winning four Paralympic titles.

He has experienced some of the biggest highs and lows in sport - now he wants to represent New Zealand.

"It's great to see the support from all sides," he tells Newshub.

The promising footballer lost his leg in 2001, after a horror tackle left him with no blood circulation below the knee.

"A goalkeeper jumped on my knee and injured me so heavily that I lost my leg," says Czyz. "I was up there and then, a few days later, down here.

"My life was over."

The passionate sportsman struggled to see any light.

"For me, if I go for something, I go absolutely 100 percent."

That's exactly what he gave his next challenge - becoming a Paralympian.

Czyz, who will soon feature in a documentary about his life, won gold medals in long jump, 100m and 200m - then switched from track and field to a boat.

"I bought a boat and changed it into a workshop," he says. "We founded Sailing for Handicaps, and sailed around the world to donate prosthetic legs and teach people how to walk.

"We did it for 90 people and changed 90 people's lives."

Czyz settled in the Waikato last year and is keen to add the silver fern to his resume in a new sport - badminton.

"I first met Wojtek in 2019 and that was his first time playing," says coach Ken Yew. "Between then and now, he's come along in leaps and bounds.

Czyz is targetting the 2024 Paris Paralympics, but that would require a change to eligibility rules.

"Normally, to obtain citizenship, you should be in this country for seven years," he says. "We are trying to find out if it's possible for me to become a Kiwi a little bit earlier to represent New Zealand."

Czyz wants to inspire Kiwis with disabilities, but now just needs the chance.