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Vision-impaired Kiwi kids head for the Rockies!


Vision-impaired Kiwi kids head for the Rockies!

They may be blind and vision-impaired but that's not stopping five kiwi teenagers competing against more than 6,000 of their sighted peers at the Rocky Mountain State Games which will be held in Colorado in the U.S. next month.

The five talented and inspirational athletes, who are all aged 13-14 years, are Daniel Holt (Albany), Mary Fisher (Upper Hutt), Lucy McLeod (Wellington), Cameron Laken (Hastings) and Hamish Tahana (Napier). Their disciplines include swimming and athletics.

Selected based on their successes at the RNZFB's Southern Cross Games in Auckland in April, the blind and vision-impaired students will also be competing at the U.S Association of Blind Athletes National Summer Sports Festival.

That these youngsters are putting themselves out there to compete against sighted individuals shows the real grit and determination they have. It also shows how these kids want to break any stereotypes that exist about blind and vision-impaired people not being able to get involved in competitive sports, says Ray McLeod, CEO of Blind Sport New Zealand.

Involvement in sport is a great way for all young people to develop confidence and self esteem, and even more so for blind or vision-impaired youth. They build support networks which help them tackle other challenges in the future."

The fab five leave Auckland on July 29 to acclimatise to the altitude of Colorado Springs (6,200 feet or 1880 meters) before the Sports Festival and Rocky Mountain Games.

Send them an email to wish them well and a safe journey at sports@blindsport.org.nz

A special thank you to major sponsors, Blind Sport New Zealand, Lion Foundation, New Zealand Community Trust, The Trusts Charitable Trust, Pub Charity, Sliqueline Sportswear and JMB Marketing Ltd.

Blind Sport and the RNZFB work together to provide sporting opportunities and increase the participation of blind and vision-impaired New Zealanders in sport.

The RNZFB is the primary provider of vision-related rehabilitation services to 11,500 blind, deafblind and vision-impaired New Zealanders. Only one-third of the RNZFB's annual operating budget comes from government sources - the rest must be raised.

ENDS

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