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Wednesday February 21, 2018



Athletes with intellectual disabilities to take on leadership challenge

Special Olympics’ advocate Oscar Stace of Wadestown. PHOTO: Supplied

A local Special Olympics athlete is preparing for a new challenge as part of a group of athletes set to become ambassadors for Special Olympics New Zealand. Wadestown’s Oscar Stace, who competes with Special Olympics Wellington is one of six athletes who will take part in the so called Global Messenger training programme this year. The goal of the programme is to equip athletes with the skills to take up the role of ambassador for the organisation within their communities around the country. Following the training Oscar will join a group of more than 70 Global Messengers who promote Special Olympics in New Zealand

and support and inspire other athletes. Oscar has been involved with Special Olympics for about 10 years and has been to three National Summer Games to compete in swimming, and to the Trans-Tasman Games in Hamilton in 2016. The 32-year-old has recently become more involved in promoting Special Olympics and has spoken to local schools and organisations including Wellington City Council. “Special Olympics keeps me active and gives me something to do,” Oscar says. “It has taught me how to be a better swimmer and has helped me with listening and behaving. “I also have some very good

friends I met through Special Olympics and have had lots of new opportunities like travelling to different places,” he explains. “Special Olympics has given me a lot, so this is a way of giving back.” Oscar has also been a volunteer with Cloud 9 Teen Club and Saturday Kids Club since 2009 and is a member of People First Wellington. He is a sports fanatic – especially when it comes to cricket and rugby – and enjoys following news and politics. “Being selected to become a Global Messenger is a huge achievement and an amazing opportunity for these athletes,” Julia

Sanson, regional team leader for Special Olympics New Zealand, says. “Not only will they learn new and valuable leadership skills that will help them in their lives and careers, but they will also become the face of Special Olympics in their communities. “As an athlete driven organisation it is important that our athletes have a voice in raising awareness and breaking down barriers which they and their peers often experience. “They share their experiences and achievements gained through Special Olympics as a very strong and powerful voice of awareness and change.”

Round the Bays raises the bar again Cigna Round the Bays 2018 welcomed an impressive 14,455 people from around the country to Wellington to compete in the annual event. “Helping our communities maximise their health and well-being is a huge priority for us,” says Suzanne de Geus, Cigna New Zealand head of sales and marketing. “It was fantastic to once again see people come out and get involved – whether it was running, walking, pushing a buggy or this year on a scooter.” Last year’s number of participants of 14,300 was surpassed last Sunday as

keen athletes joined the event along Wellington’s waterfront. About 2000 runners took part in the Cigna Achilles Half Marathon, 3600 in the Bluebridge 10km and a further 8855 in the 6.5km fun run and Mitre 10 MEGA Buggy Walk. Sport Wellington CEO Phil Gibbons says he and the wider team are proud of consistently producing one of New Zealand’s largest events of its kind. “We were focused on delivering an event that was in keeping with our vision that ‘everyone in the greater Wellington regions has a life-long involvement in

sport and active recreation. “It was great to see everyone come into the city and enjoy the really fantastic experience.” Cigna was also delighted to present the event’s official charity, Achilles New Zealand, with a cheque for $20,000 during the event’s prize-giving. “To reach our goal of raising $20,000 for Achilles was terrific,” Suzanne says. “A huge thanks to the generous donations and fundraising efforts of race participants and the inclusion of $1 from each registration to the charity.”

The mission of Achilles International is to enable people with all types of disabilities to participate in mainstream running events in order to promote personal achievement. “As a 100 percent volunteer organisation we are reliant on this support and are so thankful to everyone who helped us reach our target amount,” Achilles national manager John Bowden says “Together you have supported our work to help people with disabilities get out and get active – and experience the sense of achievement in taking part in mainstream running events such as Cigna Round the Bays.”

Sports talk

with Jacob Page

The emotive cricket column They say never write a column angry because it’s like being married and going to bed with the same mindset - no good can come of it. Well, I’ll break the rule for hopefully therapeutic benefits. When it comes to cricket, I’m a curmudgeon trapped in a 28-year-old body. I like test cricket and don’t care for the crash and bash cash-cow that is twenty20 cricket. Rarely do I watch the short form but when I do I try not to become emotionally invested in the outcome. I broke that rule on Friday night, persuaded by a sterling batting effort from the Black Caps which resulted in what I’ll call an embarrassing bowling and fielding performance. Defending 243 against a powerful Australian batting line-up on the postage stamp Eden Park, short boundaries and all. The bowlers looked bereft of ideas, and for Blenheim’s Ben Wheeler, it was a performance best forgotten. Wheeler went for 64 runs off 3.1 overs before he was ejected from the bowling crease for two full toss deliveries over the waist of batsmen. I played cricket with Wheeler during my time in Blenheim, I was

hopeless, he was a star but that effort may have long lasting scars. Watching 488 runs in 39 overs leaves me cold, I want a competition between bat and ball and T20 won’t offer me that. The Black Caps need a mindshift, our bowlers look below par when under real pressure and our fielding has always been decent but dropped catches have haunted our 2018 so far. I’ve tried to keep this column relatively constructive as opposed to negative but sometimes a spade needs to be called a spade. I never have thought the 2017/18 Black Caps were the best in history - there are too many weaknesses to match with the good. I spent $6000 getting to the Cricket World Cup final in Melbourne on short notice three years ago. That Black Caps side got my money and they deserved it, this team does not. There is a difference between being a fan and a cheerleader, nights like last Friday distinguish them very well. Yes, the Aussies batted superbly but deep down, we should know that not being able to defend 243 in 20 overs simply is unacceptable.

Jayden Movold Achilles NZ youth ambassador (cerntre) with his mother Lise Baldwin to his left, and some of the Achilles guides. PHOTO: Supplied

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