Following local events, the Games level is the next step in an athlete’s competition pathway.
Regional Games are what their name implies: sports competitions for athletes from within a region. Regional Games are usually held over two days and involve an overnight stay but some sports may only require one day of competition. Regional Games are typically centred on one sport but sometimes offer more than one sport.
In the lead-up to National Games, athletes must participate in Ribbon Days and Regional Games.
National Games are multi-day sports competitions. Athletes gather from around the country to compete in a variety of season-specific sports. An individual athlete must choose just one sport in which to compete.
National Games are held on a residential basis. For some athletes, going to National Games is the first time they’ve travelled away from home! National Games usually offer other activities in addition to sports such as Healthy Athletes.
Special Olympics New Zealand National Summer Games and Special Olympics New Zealand National Winter Games are each held every four years. They are held on an alternating two-year schedule. The 2011 National Winter Games were held in Central Otago and will happen again in 2015 (location to be determined); the National Summer Games were held in 2013 in Dunedin with the next Games being held in Wellington in 2017.
In the lead-up to World Games, athletes must participate in National Games.
Sometimes there are opportunities for athletes from Special Olympics New Zealand to travel to Australia to participate and compete in Regional and National Games there. Likewise, athletes from Australia can sometimes participate in New Zealand.
In 2011 the inaugural Trans Tasman Tournament was held in Wellington and in 2013 the Tournament was hosted in Cairns, Australia.
The first Asia Pacific Games were held in Newcastle, Australia from 30 November to 7 December, 2013.
The event saw Australia welcome more than 1,700 Special Olympics athletes, 600 coaches, 4,000 volunteers, and approximately 200,000 spectators from 25 nations across the Asia Pacific region.
Special Olympics World Games are multi-day sports competitions that gather athletes from around the world. Competition is available in a variety of season-specific sports.
World Games are held on a residential basis and offer other activities in addition to sports such as Healthy Athletes, Host Town Programme and Athlete Congress.
Special Olympics World Summer Games and Special Olympics World Winter Games are each held every four years. They are held on an alternating two-year schedule. The 2011 World Summer Games were held in Greece in and the 2013 World Winter Games were held in Korea. The next World Summer Games will be held in Los Angeles in 2015.