Modern Pentathlon New Zealand (MPNZ) has been praised for its dedication to the International Modern Pentathlon Union's Para-sports movement, after it provided opportunities for visually impaired athletes.
MPNZ set a goal of enabling access for all to the sport of modern pentathlon and has created a partnership with the New Zealand branch of Achilles International to ensure Para-athletes have guides and support.
"The defining moment in any sport's growth is when it draws and supports athletes from all sectors of the community," said Para-athlete and advisor Shannon Cleave, who is visually impaired and competes internationally in triathlon.
"Modern pentathlon is global and the next logical step is to include Para-athletes, to unite and inspire the world."
New Zealand currently has one senior female athlete who competes in all five modern pentathlon disciplines, as well as several who compete in events such as laser-run.
"It takes a lot of trust from Para-athletes to enable us to guide and set relevant standards for competitions, especially when competing against able-bodied athletes," said MPNZ President Kaewruethai Collings.
"The support in New Zealand has been fantastic and we are going from strength to strength.
"While there have been challenges for each event and competition, the country continues to move forward in this space.
"We would be happy to offer advice to other National Federations looking to develop their Para-sport offering."
Praise for the MPNZ also came from Kitty Chillier, the President of the Oceania Modern Pentathlon Confederation who pointed out its efforts to improve integration.