Hamilton is playing host to hundreds of athletes with intellectual disabilities from throughout New Zealand and Australia for the third Special Olympics Trans Tasman Tournament.
Nearly 300 New Zealand and 120 Australian athletes of all ages and abilities are competing in swimming and athletics. The tournament was created to give athletes more opportunity to compete, particularly those with higher needs that may not otherwise get the opportunity to compete internationally.
Day one of the Tournament kicked off at Waterworld with an Opening Ceremony that included a Powhiri from Waikato Ngati Maahanga, official welcome of VIP’s, athletes, team management and families, raising of the Special Olympics New Zealand, Australian and New Zealand flag and then the arrival of the Flame of Hope. A similar ceremony was also held at the athletics venue, Porritt Stadium, where the cauldron was lit and will remain so for the duration of the Tournament.
Day one of competition saw many heats take place in the pool and on the track with many finals being held today, day two of the three day event.
Many personal bests have been achieved by athletes from both sides of the Tasman, Special Olympics is all about participation and doing one’s best and the athletes have certainly shown they can achieve that today. We are not about elite sport but about everyone have the opportunity to compete, and to be included”, says Kathy Gibson, CEO of Special Olympics New Zealand.
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