Paralympics New Zealand (PNZ) has appointed Ben Lucas as Chef de Mission for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
Lucas is highly respected in the Paralympic Sport community as the chief executive of New Zealand Spinal Trust, a board member of Parafed Canterbury, Trustee of the Halberg Disability Sport Foundation and recent board member of PNZ.
As an athlete Lucas represented New Zealand at the 1994 Victoria Commonwealth Games, Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games.
He led both Paralympic Games teams as New Zealand team captain.
Paralympic New Zealand chairman Mark Copeland said Lucas will be tasked with continuing to drive the New Zealand campaign to success at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
"The task of producing high performing athletes in Para-Sport is becoming increasingly difficult with Paralympics New Zealand charged to deliver 8 to 12 gold medals at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. The chef de mission will play a vital role in supporting the team to achieve this goal. Ben will build on the great foundations put in place by previous chef de mission, Duane Kale, from the highly successful campaigns in Beijing and London, and will create and lead a high performance team environment which is inspirational and provides the opportunity for all athletes to thrive and succeed."
Duane Kale will lead a knowledge transfer programme with Lucas, who said he was excited about the challenge.
"It takes a huge support team and environment to create medal-winning athletes, and I will use a collaborative leadership style to create a way for athletes to contribute to making something extraordinary happen," he said.
"The performance of the New Zealand team in London was outstanding and our Paralympians inspired the nation. I look forward to working towards Rio 2016 and ensuring the strong legacy of Paralympic success continues".
The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games run from September 7 to 18, 2016.
- © Fairfax NZ News