World Summer Games Daily Wrap: Day 3

Tauranga athletes were amongst the winners on day three of the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Berlin, as the New Zealand team claimed five medals in one day.

Ten-pin bowler Len Just and coach Raewyn Judson were part of the team that claimed a bronze in the team event.

The tenpin bowling team started their competition with an opening match against a strong German team in the Bowling World complex. The German prevailed 2-1 in a tight head-to-head tussle, but in the Teams Event the Kiwi scores were enough to take the bronze medal in the top division.

Coach Raewyn Judson said that the foursome of Bay of Plenty’s Len Just, Shanae Dean (Counties), Joshua Ryan (Manawatu) and Kristy Sharp (Wellington) had done extremely well against top opponents and hoped this result will give the team confidence going into their doubles and singles competitions later this week.

The bronze medal winning ten-pin-bowling team with from left head coach Fred Senior, Josh Ryan, Len Just, Kirsty Sharp, Shane Dean, assistant Head of Delegation Paula Dixon and coach Raewyn Judson.

Tauranga 800m runner Hayley Little also claimed third place only be disqualified for leaving her lane too early.

“I didn’t win a medal but I gave my all and did my best. I also cut eight seconds of my time,” said an upbeat Little. 

On a great day for New Zealand Aaron Campbell from Levin claimed the first gold medal for New Zealand.

“It feels great,” smiled the elated bocce player after holding off Paraguay’s Oscar Ocampos 6-3 in a tense final in which the players swapped the lead several times.

“There was a bit of back and forth, but I got there.”

“When he went 3-2 up, I got a little bit nervous, but just focused on my game,” said the team’s only representative from Horowhenua.

Coach Logan Amer could not stop grinning next to the golden boy, who had never travelled overseas before, but is now walking tall on the other side of the world. 

“If you see where Aaron has come from, from a small town like Levin, and a small club, I’m so proud. He has been playing for many years and with all the work he has put in, he really deserves this moment,” said Amer.

“I’m over the moon for him, and so proud, and I know how proud his family will be back home.”

The New Zealand party at Berlin’s Messe convention centre was complete when Blair Smith from Rangiora also claimed a bronze in Bocce after beating Alexandr Chernyavskiy from Kazakstan comprehensively.

That result was particularly pleasing for Smith because the Kazak player had earlier beaten the Smith in the pool play, so the North Canterbury player just snuck into the bronze medal match on a points differential.

Aaron Campbell, left, assistant coach Olwyn Humphreys, Blair Smith and Head Coach Logan Amer celebrate the double Kiwi success on the bocce court.

Both athletes will have to wait until Wednesday evening to collect medals in the formal ceremony.

Elsewhere in Berlin, other athletes from small-town New Zealand were also shining on the biggest global stage.

Wairarapa has one of the smallest Special Olympics clubs in New Zealand, but none of that mattered when Josh Taylor from Masteron took on the world and brought home silver in the 200m at the athletics track at the Olympiastadion.

The New Zealand success on the track was completed by fellow sprinter Natasha Chang from Howick who claimed a bronze medal over the same distance.

Matthew Di Leva from Wellington just missed out on the medal over the 200m, but was still proud to finish fourth in a fast final.

Head of Delegation Rowena Massey said it had been an incredible day.

“All the hard work our athletes and coaches have done over the past months is shining through. It’s just fantastic to see.”

Alongside the medal success, the New Zealand football team wrote Special Olympics history by winning their first ever 7-a-side game at the World Summer Games by beating an impressive Austrian team, 7-1. After the earlier losses to Egypt and Aruba, the win will set the New Zealanders up well for their pool play.

The New Zealand Football team after their history making win over Austria

On the basketball court, the New Zealand Unified team also made their mark by beating the USA team 5-1, as well as Austria, 9-1, but had to concede to Namibia and Cuba.

On the golf course, Mitch Brown from Auckland is leading the competition after carding another top score of 73, one over par, to follow his par score from the first round. Brown is now a whopping eight shots clear of the rest of the field and looking good for a medal. Massey said she could not wait for the next few days to unfold. “Full of smiles, joy and bling.”

Skip to content