Special Olympics provides sports rules across all levels of competition. These are standardised to ensure all athletes of all abilities have the opportunity to participate and that the adjudication process is fair and equitable.
Special Olympics sports competitions must operate in accordance with rules established by the International Federations (IF), and National Governing Bodies (NGB) of each sport; or Special Olympics New Zealand Competition/Sports policies.
Our sports rules are modifications that have been applied to IF and NGB rules where appropriate. In cases where IF or NGB rules are in conflict with the sports rules, the Special Olympics sports rules will apply.
Our Special Olympics sports rules are standardised to ensure all athletes of all abilities have the opportunity to participate and that the adjudication process is fair and equitable.
Special Olympics coaches, volunteers and staff are encouraged to suggest any rule changes that they feel are appropriate. These recommendations are an integral part of the review process and can result in change or clarification of the rules. It can also be the time to add any new events, or remove any that no longer interest our athletes.
Our Special Olympics New Zealand programme is renowned within the global international Special Olympics programme for being “game changers” and over the past three cycles of Rule changes we have brought over 30 changes.
These changes have varied from introducing new events, the removal of out of date rules/terminology, ensuring there is alignment with IF and NGB rules, and even changing the name from aquatics to swimming came from us here in New Zealand.
Special Olympics Incorporated now only accept and review any proposed rule changes on a bi-annual basis rather than annually. After the posting of revised 2015 Sports rules in September last year, the next review will take place this year and then not again until 2019 unless health and safety issues require changes prior.
The window of opportunity for 2017 submissions is now open and Clubs coaches, volunteers, athletes, parents and caregivers now have their chance to recommend changes to our sports rules.
Once received all recommendations will be considered by the various New Zealand Sports resource teams we have set up, before they are submitted to SOI in Washington. Proposals forwarded directly to SOI (i.e. without SONZ’s endorsement) may not be considered by Sports Rules Advisory Council.
To view all of the sports offered by Special Olympics New Zealand please visit Our sports.
Below you will find copies of the latest Special Olympics Incorporated's sports rules as they relate to our programme, please click on the sport that relates to you.
Please note that as indoor bowls is a 'locally popular sport', the rules relating to this sport follow Indoor Bowls New Zealand's current rules and are not referred to by Special Olympics Inc.
Athletics, Track and Field - Recent rule changes
Basketball - Recent rule changes
Bocce - Recent rule changes
Bowling - Recent rule changes
Football - Recent rule changes
Indoor bowls - Rules
Indoor bowls - Special Olympics Competition Guidelines
Powerlifting - Recent rule changes
Swimming - Recent rule changes
Table Tennis - Recent rule changes
Alpine Skiing - Recent rule changes
Snowboarding - Recent rule changes
Manager - Sports Operations
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+64 27 548 4824