Proud Special Olympians arrive home

18:42, Oct 16 2012
Southland Times photo
Ten Southland athletes returned home with gold and bronze medals yesterday after competing in the Special Olympics trans- Tasman Tournament in Cairns, Australia.

A large crowd erupted in cheers and clapping yesterday at Invercargill Airport as 10 athletes, all with shiny, new medals arrived home.

Proud mother Anne McKenzie, while excitedly waiting for her son to walk off the plane, said eight basketballers, two track and field athletes and three coaches left Invercargill on October 6 to compete in the second Special Olympics trans-Tasman tournament, held in Cairns.

The basketball team won gold after beating Western Australia in the division C final and Grant McKenzie, competing in division one athletics, won a bronze medal for the 200m with a time of 26.6 seconds.

Sarah King, who competed in division three athletics, came first in the 100m run and second in the 100m walk.

Ms McKenzie said it had been the experience of a lifetime for the athletes. They had made new friends and competed at a top level. She said the Special Olympics had featured opening and closing ceremonies, raising the Special Olympics flag, torch run and lighting the cauldron.

During the Olympics, held over three days, 350 athletes from Australia and New Zealand competed in athletics, basketball, 7-a-side football and tenpin bowling - all in 30 degrees Celsius temperatures.


The Southland Times