G-G Opens the Halberg Junior Disability Games
Governor-General Officially Opens the Halberg Junior Disability Games
National three day sports competition for physically disabled young people begins in Auckland
The Halberg Junior Disability Games, has been officially opened by the Governor-General, The Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy during a ceremony at King’s College in Auckland today.
146 athletes aged eight to 21 years will be representing 12 regional teams in the national sports competition for physically disabled and visually impaired young people for three days of competition, fun and camaraderie for the event which is hosted by the Halberg Disability Sport Foundation.
The Games were launched today in an opening ceremony hosted by James McOnie which began with a march of the teams and closed with Halberg Disability Sport Foundation Patron, the Governor-General, declaring the event officially open.
Guest speakers at the ceremony included Disability Rights Commissioner and Halberg Junior Disability Games Ambassador, Paula Tesoriero, Para-swimming champion Cameron Leslie and Olympic bronze medallist Eliza McCartney.
Para-athlete Jacob Phillips from the Halberg Youth Council took the ‘Athletes Oath’ on behalf of all competitors and lit the official flame with Paula Tesoriero. Halberg Youth Council member and Canterbury athlete Thomas Chin read a Karakia to formally bless the event.
“The official launch of the Halberg Junior Disability Games marks the start of three days of competition, fun and friendship that highlights the magic of sport,” says Halberg Disability Sport Foundation Chief Executive, Shelley McMeeken.
The event gives athletes the opportunity to compete in regional teams, support by their local Parafed (Northland, Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Gisborne, Hawkes Bay, Taranaki, Manawatu, Wellington, Canterbury and Otago/Southland) across 21 sports including athletics, swimming, triathlon, football, golf and waka ama.
The Halberg Junior Disability Games gives athletes the opportunity compete at a national level, try new sports, and meet other people from around the country. The event also provides a pathway to pursue further sporting goals and has seen 2016 athletes, Jacob Phillips and Keegan Pitcher go on to compete at the Rio Paralympic Games and London 2017 World Para Athletics Championships respectively.