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Blind youth going for gold at Southern Cross Games

Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind (RNZFB)
10 April 2006
Media release

Blind youth going for gold at Southern Cross Games

While New Zealand was cheering on our athletes at the Commonwealth Games, another group of athletes was preparing for Games of another sort.

From 18-21 April around150 blind and vision-impaired students from New Zealand, Australia and Samoa will descend on Auckland competing for medals in the 2006 Southern Cross Games.

"Involvement in sports competitively or for recreation is extremely important and is closely linked to confidence and self-esteem," says Glynis Smith, Southern Cross Games organiser and Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind Recreation Advisor.

"It's not all about the winning, doing your best and giving it a go is equally important. It's about having a positive attitude to life."

Track and field, swimming and soccer are sports traditionally associated with sighted achievers, but with the right support and attitude vision-impaired students are breaking stereotypes. The Southern Cross Games are also an opportunity for youth to compete and socialise with people of similar ages with similar levels of vision.

"It can be very isolating being blind or vision-impaired. In the smaller centres, you may be the only student at your school or even in your region," says Glynis.

"Events like the Southern Cross Games help our young people establish support networks while building the confidence to go on and tackle other challenges, be it school exams, finding an after school job or choosing what subjects to take."

The Southern Cross Games is a biennial event and was last hosted by New Zealand in 1990. They are open to any blind or vision-impaired student from the Pacific aged 9-18 years old that is enrolled in full-time study.

Programme for the 2006 Games:
Tues 18 April 5pm – Powhiri and Opening Ceremony (Waipuna Conference Centre)
Wed 19 April 9am – Swimming (Mangere Moana Nui A Kiwa)
Thur 20 April 9am – Athletics (Ericsson Stadium)
Fri 21 April 9am – Goalball & Soccer (RNZFB and Auckland Domain)

A special thank you to major sponsors AXA Hearts in Action, Mt Wellington Trust, Beatrice Georgeson Trust, A&S Flavell Charitable Trust and ASB Bank for supporting the 2006 Southern Cross Games.

ENDS

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