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Ian Baldwin

Businessman and passionate bowling and football coach, Ian Baldwin, is looking forward to sharing his expertise with Special Olympics New Zealand athletes at the upcoming World Summer Games.

As the Head Coach for Bowling for the Games, Ian brings 15 years of coaching and 20 years of playing experience. He has been involved with Special Olympics for 24 years, and this will be his fourth World Games – including one as the football Coach.

The previous World Games Ian attended were 1995 New Haven, USA, 2007 Shanghai, China and 2011 Athens, Greece. He also attended the 2013 South East Asia-Pacific Games, Newcastle, Australia.

“There are so many facets to being involved; you feel you are making a difference; the life-time friendships you make; the challenges – it’s just a buzz!

“I get a great deal of satisfaction out of coaching Special Olympics athletes and seeing their development, not only in their sport but also in their everyday life. The one thing I would like to do is to coach the coaches as I feel raising the coaches level will lift the athletes also.”

Ian says that after nearly half-a-century coaching Special Olympics athletes, he has had many amusing and special moments.

“I remember the first time I had a football trial game with our athletes – I hadn’t met any of them before – and during the game I was running up and down the sideline giving out instructions with one athlete ignoring me completely. At halftime I spoke to one of the helpers about this and she said, ‘I forgot to tell you, he’s deaf’! Another moment was in Shanghai when our athlete, who had trained hard, received a Gold medal. Watching this gave me a great lump in my throat and a tear in the eye; it still does to this day.”

While Ian is a busy person, as the owner of a retail/manufacturing business, the grandfather of 18 grandchildren, three great-grandchildren, a trustee of the Local Life Education Trust and founding trustee off the 10-Pin Bowling Foundation, he says his supportive wife and love of Special Olympics helps him juggle his commitments.

“It is easier to find time for our athletes when you see how events such as the Games open their eyes to the rest of the world. It also showcases how well, as a nation, we run our programmes and puts Special Olympics in the public eye.
All of our teams work together very well to create a caring and family atmosphere for both athletes and coaches.”
What I love about New Zealand Special Olympics:

The athletes, their coaches, the supporters – they all make up Special Olympics New Zealand, which means fun as well as being challenging at times. It also enables me to do something for people who are somewhat disadvantaged and to be thankful for what I have.”
 

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