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PITCHER Keegan
Sport Para athletics
NPC New Zealand   
GenderMen
Age22
Place of BirthAuckland, NZL
Height1.80 m
Human Interest
Impairment Information
Origin of Impairment
Congenital
Classification
T38, F38
Further Personal Information
Residence
Auckland, NZL
Occupation
Athlete
Languages
English
Higher education
Physical Education - University of Auckland: New Zealand
Sport Specific Information
When and where did you begin this sport?
He began running at school. He competed against able-bodied children until he was scouted by members of Parafed Auckland at the 2015 Halberg Junior Disability Games in Cambridge, New Zealand.
Why this sport?
"I got into athletics during school. I found out very quickly that I had a natural ability when it came to running and I had a true passion for the sport. I have participated in other sports such as wheelchair basketball and wheelchair rugby, and I loved the team environment. However, my true passion and desire is to be a great runner and smash records."
Club / Team
Owairaka Athletics: Auckland, NZL
Name of coach
Hamish Meacheam [personal], NZL, from 2016
Training Regime
He has one track session and four longer training runs per week.
Senior International Debut
Year
2017
Competing for
New Zealand
General Interest
Nicknames
Keegs (Athlete, 06 Nov 2019)
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning two bronze medals at the 2017 World Championships in London, England. (Athlete, 06 Nov 2019)
Hero / Idol
New Zealand Para athlete William Stedman. (Athlete, 06 Nov 2019)
Injuries
In March 2020 he suffered a stress fracture of the second metatarsal bone in his left foot. (athleticsauckland.co.nz, 22 Jul 2020)
Superstitions / Rituals / Beliefs
He kisses the wedding ring of his grandparents before competing. (Athlete, 06 Nov 2019)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"In my everyday life my disability is always there and is something that I have to overcome daily. With running it is my way of having a dream and a goal to focus on. Running makes me feel 'normal', running is a way for me to feel like I am just like everyone else. I love the pressure, I love the focus you need to achieve your goals, but most of all I love the people I meet along this journey." (givealittle.co.nz, 01 Dec 2016)
Awards and honours
He was one of the 2020 Blues Award recipients in the sports category at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. (auckland.ac.nz, 30 Sep 2020)

He was named Best Male Overall Athlete at the 2015 Halberg Junior Disability Games, an event that is held annually in Cambridge, New Zealand, by the Halberg Disability Sport Foundation. (stuff.co.nz, 20 Oct 2015)
Ambitions
To compete at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. "My goal is to compete in at least three Paralympics for athletics, then maybe switch to another code, like cycling or wheelchair rugby." (Facebook page, 10 Mar 2020; auckland.ac.nz, 17 Sep 2019)
Impairment
He was born with cerebral palsy and has left-sided hemiplegia. "I found that ever since I started training, my coordination is so much better, my shaking is so much less, and then I've actually had trouble distinguishing me from other able-bodied athletes. So, it's quite funny, I've been told I've got the mechanics of an able-bodied athlete." (parafedauckland.co.nz, 20 Dec 2016; tempofit.org, 10 Jun 2017; Athlete, 06 Nov 2019)
Other information
CLASSIFICATION CHANGE
In 2018 his classification was changed from T36 to T38 following an International Paralympic Committee [IPC] review of the testing criteria for Para athletes with cerebral palsy. He had to travel to Australia to undergo tests, and was subsequently re-classified. "I was devastated and I had a little cry. It was an emotional week, one of the most stressful and emotional weeks I've ever had." He says he is grateful for the support he received from coach Hamish Meacheam and Athletics New Zealand following the news. "Once I came back home I had a de-brief with my coach and we tried to look on the positive side. They have always been willing to support me, even though I'd gone from a world T36 bronze medallist to a T38 unknown." (athleticsauckland.co.nz, 22 Jul 2020)

STUDIES
He chose to study physical education with the aim of becoming a teacher. "I also really want to help kids who want to get involved with physical education but are too scared. If I could inspire a student with a disability to go to the Paralympics one day, that would be a dream come true." (auckland.ac.nz, 17 Sep 2019)

Competition Highlights (historical)
World Championships
Rank Year Event Result
7 2017 200m T36 25.53
3 2017 400m T36 55.23
3 2017 800m T36 2:13.49
11 2019 400m T38 56.74
13 2019 1500m T38 4:35.77