Hero's welcome for paralympian silver medallist

LEIGHTON KEITH
Last updated 05:00 27/03/2014
corey peters
CHARLOTTE CURD/Fairfax NZ
BEST FRIEND: Paralympian silver medallist Corey Peters gets a warm welcome home from his staffordshire bull terrier, Cruz, at New Plymouth Airport yesterday.

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Taranaki Paralympian Corey Peters is already looking to improve on the silver medal he won at Sochi.

The sit-skier, who was competing at his first Paralympic Winter Games, arrived home yesterday to a hero's welcome at New Plymouth Airport.

Family, friends and his staffordshire bull terrier, Cruz, packed the terminal while a group of students from his old school, New Plymouth Boys' High, performed a haka as Peters, who was paralysed in a motocross accident in 2009, got off the plane.

Peters won New Zealand's only medal at the games, in the giant slalom sitting event.

He told the Taranaki Daily News he was looking forward to catching up with family and friends and enjoying some down-time before heading to Wanaka at the end of April.

"Then I'll start building for Korea by setting out a training plan for the next four years," the former Taranaki age-group rugby representative said.

His goal is to win gold in his favourite disciplines - the Super-G and giant slalom - at Pyeongchang, South Korea, in 2018.

"Ski racing is a tough sport to expect to win medals in, everything has to fall into place on the day."

Peters said he had been hoping for a low-key homecoming.

"It was actually quite overwhelming and emotional to see my old school do a haka like that."

Boys' High assistant principal Darryl Leath said Peters was an inspiration to everyone.

"I think it's fantastic, not only for us but for the whole country," Mr Leath said.

As a schoolboy rugby player Peters was a typical cheeky halfback and had a strong desire to succeed, he said.

"He was focused, dedicated and like a lot of boys his age he didn't like losing."

Simon Burton, an old school friend, said Peters had always been an incredibly hard worker.

"I'm pretty proud of him, that man is a legend," Mr Burton said.

Lorraine Peters said it was exciting to have her son home.

"I like his nice medal," she said.

Dennis, who was in Sochi to see his son win the silver medal, said it was great to have him home but he knew it wouldn't last long.

"He'll be bored within a week or so."

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- Taranaki Daily News

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