THE National Summer Games hosted by Special Olympics New Zealand were held in Wellington last week.
Southern athletes, who competed in ten-pin bowling, basketball, athletics, powerlifting and swimming, returned home with four golds, 10 silvers, 13 bronzes and 40 ribbons awarded for fourth to eighth placings.
Special Olympics New Zealand regional sports co-ordinator for the lower South Island Michelle Greenwood said everyone enjoyed the competition and experience.
“It was a lot of fun. The athletes are very happy with the results. They saw their old friends from other clubs and met some new friends. Also, Special Olympics New Zealand chairman Ian McKelvie invited them for a tour of the Parliament buildings, which they really enjoyed.”
Ms Greenwood said athletes also got to participate in National Healthy Athletes screening programme (HAPs).
“The Special Olympics Healthy Athletes initiative offers basic health screenings and services to athletes. The screenings tell us that Special Olympics athletes have significant unmet health needs. This highlights the need for health education and promotion as well as improved access for people with intellectual disability to health care services. The athletes were able to attend Fit Feet, Special Smiles, Healthy Hearing, Health Promotion and Opening Eyes sessions,” she said.
More than 1250 athletes from throughout the country attended New Zealand’s largest sports event for people with intellectual disabilities.