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Heart Warming Home Coming For NZ Special Olympians

Heart Warming Home Coming For New Zealand Special Olympians

New Zealand’s highly successful Special Olympics team arrived home safely today to a welcome home brigade of some two hundred family and friends.

Special Olympians Michael Conder (Tauranga) left and Conrad Michael Ryan (Palmerston North) with New Zealand Olympian and Special Olympics ambassador, Beatrice Faumuina, at a special welcome home function for the NZ Special Olympics team which returned home from the Special Olympics World Summer Games this morning. Conrad and Michael are both holding their gold medals which they won in golf events - in total the NZ team picked up a medal tally of 62 medals.

The team walked through the arrival gates at Auckland International Airport at around 7am to be met by a chorus of cheers and music provided by SKYCITY and the StarJam cheerleaders.

With the cheerleaders leading the way the team proceeded up to the Airport Lookout Lounge where they were greeted with a haka and songs by StarJam performers and SKYCITY’s regular entertainment feature Ray Woolf, finally being presented with congratulatory plaques by Olympic athlete Beatrice Faumuina.

Sport and Recreation Minister Trevor Mallard said the team’s performance, returning home with 60 medals, was a fantastic effort.

SKYCITY Manager Media Relations, Delwyn Lewer, says the team’s achievement is outstanding.

“They have all done exceptionally well and we’re proud to be the major sponsor for New Zealand Special Olympics.

“As well as a great performance, it’s about participation and giving it a go. We’re thrilled to be able to play a part in encouraging those with intellectual disabilities to lead positive, fulfilling lives,” she says.

Project StarJam - an innovative organisation providing opportunities for young people with disabilities - who joined Special Olympics and SKYCITY in the welcome home celebrations, congratulated all medal-winners and Special Olympians on a shining performance in Dublin.

After the welcome home ceremony the team and their families were treated to breakfast before continuing home on domestic flights to their respective home towns.

The next Special Olympics World Games event will be the Winter Games in Nagano, Japan, in 2005, and Special Olympics athletes are already training hard to uphold their winning reputation.

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