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Extending The Sporting Horizons Of People With Disabilities

New Zealand Community Trust is pleased to announce a grant of $3,659 to Special Olympics Manawatu for travel and accommodation costs to help their athletes and volunteer coaches attend competition events at other Special Olympic clubs in the North Island. Most athletes are on a benefit and do not have jobs to supplement their income.

Sports Coordinator Helen Johnson expressed her appreciation: “Special Olympics Manawatu runs 11 sport disciplines and has over 200 athletes and 50 volunteers at training and competitions. This funding will enable our teams to have weekly practices, host local events, and attend as many as six events per sport in our region annually. It will help to cover accommodation, venue and van hire, as well as allow all supporting athletes and volunteers to train and attend these events. We would not accomplish any of these goals without NZCT's generous support.”

Special Olympics goes far beyond the physical benefits of sports and providing training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. It also paves the way for empowerment through the sharing of gifts, talents and friendship through a year-round programme of sports training and competition. People with intellectual disabilities suffer needlessly from chronic pain and disease, blindness, hearing loss and other health conditions. Special Olympics New Zealand aims to reduce these health issues and enable its athletes to achieve and win not only in sport, but also in life.

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In Manawatu, all children and adults with disabilities now have the opportunity to attend hundreds of sporting events in the region, experience meaningful competition, create lifelong friendships, enjoy social activities, and regular coaching. Athletes are encouraged to improve their physical fitness, develop a range of skills, gain confidence and self-esteem, broaden social networks, increase independence, earn recognition and acceptance and enjoy active, healthy lifestyles. The sporting activities available include athletics, aquatics, swimming, basketball, bocce, bowling, indoor football, soccer, golf, power lifting, skiing, and snowboarding.

More than 7,000 athletes train and compete in 13 different Olympic-type summer and winter sports throughout New Zealand. Each year, Special Olympics New Zealand runs more than 200 events in over 40 towns and cities around the country. These events are supported by over 3,000 volunteers and are facilitated through a network of Regional Sports Coordinators.

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