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New Zealand sports minister congratulates Paralympians
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Sport and Recreation Minister Clayton Cosgrove on Thursday congratulated the New Zealand team for an outstanding effort at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games.

The New Zealand team has finished a highly successful campaign winning 12 medals including five gold, three silver and four bronze medals.

There were 27 top-eight placings across six sports, and New Zealanders also set three new world records among their gold medal finishes.

"I am immensely proud of the performances put up by our athletes. The high medal tally and three world records is a result of superb effort. In addition to those who gained medals, the entire New Zealand team performed with guts and determination and we can be proud as a nation of all their efforts," Cosgrove said.

Cosgrove said while it was a truly team performance with athletes and support staff contributing, he felt compelled to single out two individuals.

Cosgrove also congratulated Paralympics New Zealand for the comprehensive planning and support provided to the athletes.

Paralympics New Zealand is the national sport organization that, in addition to supporting the team athletes and officials, encourages opportunities for people with disabilities to participate in sports.

The government invested 4.5 million NZ dollars (26.8 million U.S. dollars) in Paralympics New Zealand in the four years leading up to this year's competition in Beijing.

(Xinhua News Agency September 18, 2008)

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