Training for free at Auckland Council Pools and Leisure facilities has helped Paralympic swimmer Tupou Neiufi claim a last-minute call-up to Rio.
The teenager qualified for the games in her favoured 100 metre backstroke S9 category and was named as a reserve, but now she gets to compete after another swimmer pulled out due to illness and injury.
Papatoetoe Centennial Pools and Leisure Centre and Moana-Nui-A-Kiwa Pools and Leisure Centre in Mangere provided Tupou with free lane space in her build-up to the games.
“Having access to a lane in the 50m pool at Papatoetoe during summer gave me the opportunity to better prepare myself for big national events,” she says.
The support was provided as part of High Performance Sport New Zealand’s Pathway to the Podium programme.
Tupou says she can’t wait to get to Rio.
“I have continued to train hard in the hope that I would be selected and now I am thrilled that my dream of representing New Zealand is a reality."
She was involved in a car accident at two years of age, which left her with a head injury and a condition (hemiplegia) that has made left side of her body smaller and weaker than the right.
Papatoetoe Centennial Pools and Leisure Centre Mike Brown says his team are extremely proud of Tupou.
"She's worked really hard to get to this stage and we're just happy we were able to help her."