Day Three saw the final day of competition for the equestrian competitors. The 41 athletes have been based at Telford, Balclutha since Wednesday (heading down there soon after the Opening Ceremony).
Day One saw the athletes matched with horses, which have been loaned by local owners, Telford, and New Zealand Riding for the Disabled. The athletes spent the morning of Day Two in Divisioning with B1 Group in Arena 1 and C1 Group in Arena 2. That afternoon they all competed in Equitation across Telford’s three equestrian Arenas.
The Telford arenas were purpose-built for equestrian in 2010 and include an all-weather competition arena, an outdoor bark competition arena, and a warm-up/practice area.
Day Three had the athletes onsite from 8am competing in Trail, and Dressage. The competition continued into the afternoon before a prizegiving at 5pm.
According to Venue Manager Lisa Snell, who works at Telford, a Division of Lincoln University, the equestrian athletes have "well and truly" had a taste of campus life during the National Summer Games 2013. They have lived onsite at the campus' accommodation, eaten breakfast and dinner in the dining room, and competed at the arenas three minutes away from their accommodation.
"It has been a joy having them here. The athletes, caregivers, coaches and supporters are amazing people. We’ve had a lot of Telford staff involved over the past two days transporting teams to the Arenas and helping out. The highlights of the competition for all of us is seeing the smiles of the competitors," she says.
"Today we had one young lady win two bronze medals. She was so emotional that she couldn’t speak. She just wept. Her mum was also crying with joy. It was such a special moment to be part of. That's what the whole Games has been about. Absolutely joy."
The equestrian teams will head back to Dunedin tomorrow morning to take part in the Healthy Athlete Screening programme at the Edgar Centre.
Day Three was Special Olympics New Zealand's Powerlifting athletes' day to shine at the competition held at the Edgar Centre. Twenty-five athletes competed in all three lifts – Squat, Bench Press, and Deadlift.
Powerlifting kicked off to an early start at 7:30am for weigh in, breakfast and warm ups. The competition got underway at 10am with St John staff on hand.
It was important that the athletes’ technique was spot on so that they did not get disqualified from one of the three judges. Everyone cheered each other on, no matter what team the athlete was from.
The quote of the day is from Clayton Marr, who explained, “No one is going to get in my way” as he stepped up to lift his weight.
Day Three's competition at the Caledonian Grounds included the finals and award ceremony for the Athletics (track and field events such as running, shot-put, softball throwing and relay races).
There were 153 athletes participating in the Athletics, which began on Wednesday (Day One) and concluded today (Day Three, Friday) at approximately 2pm.
The large grandstand overlooking the track was filled with lively athletes, coaches and spectators this morning, there to compete and watch the final few races for the National Summer Games 2013.
Relay races were the final event in the Athletics today, kicking off around 11am with several teams competing for medals and ribbons for placements one through six. After the relays finished, the athletes took a break for lunch and some excited chatter about the upcoming awards ceremony.
Medals were presented to winning athletes by two special guests to the Ceremony, Ken Lister – Manager of Forsyth Barr stadium in Dunedin, and Holly Robinson, a young Dunedin-based Paralympics women’s javelin champion.
Athletes were called one-by-one in front of the crowd, where they were presented their medals and ribbons by volunteers and the special presenters. They were then led to the Champion’s Podiums where they took their rightful place in the line-up.
Ihab Mashal from Auckland was very happy to have won a gold medal for softball throw, and a bronze medal in the 100m, and a North Taranaki athlete who won a fourth place ribbon was extremely glad to have met so many new people.
North Taranaki coach Nigel Cash stated that the Athletics had been "pretty good all round", with a few gold and silver medals for his team and region.
The day ended with some spirited dancing by the athletes and coaches to songs such as 'Gangnam style' and 'Macarena'.
Some athletes will be going directly home after the Closing Ceremony and Athlete Disco tomorrow night, while others will be sticking around for longer to visit iconic Dunedin tourist sites such as the Cadbury factory.
The Special Olympics National Summer Games 2013 football competition has been held at Logan Park with events taking place on Day One, Three, and Four. Athletes played a series of 40-minute games, (with a three minute break in between each half) on two pitches.
There are 49 athletes competing in football teams at the National Summer Games 2013, which began with a skill competition, followed by divisioning and competition.
St John's Ambulance team have been standing by during the football and treating any injuries due to the contact nature of the game. There were a few knee and ankle injuries on Day Three, but nothing particularly serious.
Neville Pugh and Matthew McErlean of the Hutt Valley/Wellington football team were very enthused to have won a game against Hawke's Bay this afternoon, with Neville exclaiming that "the game was great!" and Matthew enthusiastically informing that he "saved all the goals in the second half".
The youngest player on the Hutt Valley team is Aden Young, a twelve-year-old athlete with Down Syndrome who "thoroughly enjoys playing football"!