Shot putter Ben Tuimaseve, pictured front centre with family members after being selected for New Zealand's Tokyo 2020 Paralympics team ©PNZ

Shot putter Ben Tuimaseve is the latest addition to New Zealand’s athletics team for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

Tuimaseve, for whom the postponement of the Paralympics last year proved timely as he had surgery on the ankle that prevented him competing in the 2020 season, is the 21st Para athlete across all sports selected so far by New Zealand.

The final is expected to number around 35, and already includes performers such as Nikita Howarth, Tupou Neiufi, Sophie Pascoe and Cameron Leslie, who is selected in both swimming and athletics.

Tuimaseve, who has cerebral palsy and competes in the F37 category, took up the shot put in 2016 and made his international debut in 2019 at the Oceania Athletics Championships.

New Zealand's team for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics now numbers 21 ©Getty Images
New Zealand's team for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics now numbers 21 ©Getty Images

He went on to represent New Zealand at the World Para Athletics Championships later that year in Dubai, finishing 12th in his event.

Tuimaseve has also represented his country in physical disability rugby league, competing at the 2018 Rugby League Emerging Nations World Championship in Australia.

"The waiting got pretty intense, but it’s a good feeling to know you have earned the right to wear the fern," Tuimaseve said.

Fiona Allan, the Paralympics New Zealand chief executive, said: "It is fantastic to announce Ben’s selection today to represent New Zealand at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

"Ben will now join the six Para-athletics athletes announced earlier in May, bringing the Para-athletics team to seven in total."

Peter Pfitzinger, chief executive of Athletics New Zealand, commented: "After being unable to train early in 2020 due to injury, Ben has shown such determination on his return to competition in 2021.

"He has never given up on his dream of making the New Zealand Paralympic team for Tokyo 2020, and on behalf of the New Zealand athletics community I would like to congratulate Ben on his selection."