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Life-line for South Island Independence Games


Clayton Cosgrove

22 October, 2008
Life-line for South Island Independence Games

Sport and Recreation Minister Clayton Cosgrove has announced additional funding to ensure that next year's South Island Independence Games for disabled athletes goes ahead, as the government works to secure the event's long-term future.

The event organiser's CCS Disability Action has been under financial pressure to keep the Games going, so Mr Cosgrove requested that the government agency SPARC (Sport and Recreation New Zealand) help find a solution.

Mr Cosgrove said the government already makes an annual contribution of $5000 but it will provide extra bridging finance to ensure the 2009 Games goes ahead. The government is also working hard with CCS to find another organisation or a trust to take over the event and run it in future, at CCS's request.

"CCS has done a fantastic job with the Independence Games, but the popularity of the event is outstripping resources," Mr Cosgrove said.

SPARC is discussing a range of options with CCS and other key stakeholders which will result in finding a new lead organisation to make sure the Games continue.

"Since 1990 the Independence Games have provided an opportunity for top competition for disabled athletes, and it is imperative that this event continues.

"Beijing triple gold-medallist and silver medallist swimmer Sophie Pascoe was spotted as an eight-year-old at the Independence Games by Paralympic great, the late Graham Condon, helping to set her on the path to becoming an international champion athlete.


"We have to make sure the Sophie Pascoes of the future get their chance," Mr Cosgrove said.

Mr Cosgrove said history has shown that the South Island Independence Games can be a springboard for our future Palaympic champions, so he hopes other community funders will step up to the mark and make a contribution also.

The South Island Independence Games is a multisport event consisting of swimming and track and field. It attracts over 100 athletes each year and caters for people from a wide range of disabilities.


ENDS

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