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Special Olympics New Zealand joins UN initiative

4 April 2014

Special Olympics New Zealand joins UN initiative

Special Olympics New Zealand is joining organisations around the world to celebrate the inaugural United Nations International Day of Sport for Development and Peace on Sunday 6 April.

Special Olympics New Zealand runs year-long sports training and competition for more than 6000 people with intellectual disabilities around the country. Special Olympics New Zealand is holding more than 200 sports events this year for people with intellectual disabilities, many of who would not otherwise have access to train, compete, and socialise in a team environment.

“Special Olympics New Zealand is proud to support the United Nations International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. Special Olympics is a leading organisation in the international sports arena, and in many respects embodies the ethos behind the UN International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. Special Olympics represents a unique voice in the community and works to advance people with intellectual disabilities through sport, leadership, and advocacy,” says Kathy Gibson, Chief Executive Officer of Special Olympics New Zealand.

“In New Zealand we have seen first-hand the positive changes that sport can bring to the lives of people with intellectual disabilities across all ages and social backgrounds. Take the school experience for example. We discovered many school students with intellectual disabilities were forced to sit on the sidelines of their schools’ mainstream cross-country and swim sports days. The introduction of our Schools’ Sports Programme in many regions has opened the door for primary and secondary school-aged children to represent their schools and participate in a sport competition, and the results are inspiring.

“Special Olympics New Zealand (and our 44 Clubs around the country) is enhancing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities, improving health and mobility, socialisation, self-esteem, and opportunities. Without sport in their lives many of our 6000-plus athletes would not have travelled beyond their hometown, met people outside their families, or been empowered to represent their communities in positions of leadership. Our athletes are amazing people who enrich the lives of everyone they meet and train with,” she says.

A full calendar of events can be found at www.specialolympics.org.nz.
United Nations International Day of Sport for Development and Peace: www.un.org/en/events/sportday

ENDS

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