Hutt Valley’s Vicki Pere has spent the past 30 years training and competing for Special Olympics and has become one of our most experienced track and field athletes.
“Athletics has won my heart,” she says. “My main events are the 100m sprint, shotput, 200m sprint, relay, and 400m walk.”
Vicki’s talents in the sport have taken her around the world. She represented Special Olympics New Zealand at the 2007 World Summer Games in Shanghai, China, and most recently at the 2013 Asia Pacific Games.
“Special Olympics New Zealand has played a really big role in my life. I was 18 when I first began training. I’m now 48 and am still going strong in athletics because I love it so much. It’s my passion. As athletes we get so much encouragement and support in our training and at competitions,” she says.
“The best thing about Special Olympics for me has always been meeting new people from different countries, making friends and working as a team. At the Asia Pacific Games I was New Zealand’s only athletics competitor. The highlight of the Games for me was when the Australian team invited me to train with them. They were really nice,” she says of the intrinsic camaraderie within Special Olympics.
“My goal within the Athlete Leadership Programme is to build up my confidence so I can speak to others in the community, particularly mainstream groups, about Special Olympics New Zealand and share my experiences.”
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