Special Olympians get airport grant
A group of Special Olympians will be able to step up training in earnest, thanks to Auckland International Airport.
Special Olympics Mangere has received $1000 through the airport's latest Gold Medal Awards funding round.
The club, a group of 14 registered athletes, will use the money to buy athletics equipment, including batons, discuses, mats, cones and stopwatches.
The athletes now train using borrowed equipment from Sir Keith Park Special School but that's not always available and they often have to make do with batons made of rolled-up newspaper.
"The grant means that I can now go and buy our own batons and our own athletics equipment that we can use and it's ours," co-ordinator Anna Maria Lee says.
"That means we can train anytime without that restriction of ‘Have we got the gear?' It means that we can just get out there and get to work and have lots of training."
Special Olympians Timothy Tupou, Naomi Haverfield and Hori Tuhura are looking forward to receiving their new equipment.
They train three days a week and have recently mastered tenpin bowling.
Naomi and Hori's favourite sport is basketball while Timothy is a keen 200-metre runner.
The best part of the Special Olympics is playing "fun games" and making new friends, Hori says.
Ms Lee says Special Olympics provides a valuable sense of camaraderie for the young people involved.
"My passion is to get our children into as many sports as we can, other than school, because once they leave school it would be nice to be still part of a group."
The airport's Gold Medal Awards are aimed at fostering higher sporting achievement among young Auckland sportspeople.
Now in its third year, the funding provides sports groups, schools and marae with assistance to achieve their goals.
Other South Auckland organisations which benefited from this year's awards are: Te Tirahou Sports and Cultural Club, Papatoetoe Sports and Community Charitable Trust, Manurewa Intermediate School Sports Academy, Manurewa High School, XLR8 Junior Touch and South Auckland Seventh Day Adventist School.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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