170 countries have begun the countdown to the world's largest multi-sport event for disabled athletes and to celebrate here in New Zealand, 365 school children assembled at the Auckland University of Technology (AUT) Millennium gym.
The Rio Paralympics are exactly one year away and the celebrations have begun.
Over 80 offices and schools around the country have helped Paralympics New Zealand “go gold” to show support for the athletes.
Cameron Leslie says, “It's certainly exciting when there are so many people turn out to support you in your future endeavours and right now thinking of Rio, it's cool to know there is so many people behind you.”
These athletes go through months and months of training and cyclist Emma Foy says seeing so much support makes it all worth it.
Emma Foy says, “When you are competing away, you are away from your country and your family and friends and it is good to know that everyone is back here and they are supporting you.”
When today's fun stops, these athletes know they need to kick it up a gear.
Foy says, “Basically from now on, we are training specifically for Rio, practising our Rio build so it's all on.”
Leslie says, “I've been there and done it twice and I want to get the hat trick aye, it's gonna be tough but it's certainly at the front of the mind.”
They now know they have the support of hundreds.