THE central west branch of Special Olympics NSW is back in business and last Sunday held an open day in a bid to boost numbers ahead of the next World Games in Los Angeles in 2015.
Special Olympics central west region has been out of action for the past 12 months but with the help of Orange City Council, which has donated close to $3500 for equipment and uniforms, the organisation is back and looking for athletes.
Chairperson of central west region David Tandy said there were currently 12 registered athletes with an intellectual disability on the books.
He was hoping Sunday’s open day at Sir Neville Howse Stadium, in which the group took part in an indoor soccer match, would boost athlete numbers up to at least 20.
State development manager Andrew Sadleir said the idea behind Special Olympics NSW, which draws on athletes from a right across the state, was to provide a sporting pathway that mirrors mainstream experiences for professional athletes.
He said he was rapt to see the central west region back again.
“We’ve got new volunteers which is great to see,” Sadleir said: “The people involved with the program are extremely enthusiastic, It’s not about winning the gold medals, it’s about what sport can provide.”
At the moment the Special Olympics movement provides athletes with a chance to participate in swimming, tenpin bowling, athletics, basketball and football.
More than about winning gold, Sadleir said he pushed athletes to achieve their personal best in their chosen sport.
At the World Games in Athens last year, over 7500 athletes from 175 countries competed. The next games are in LA in 2015.
Anyone interested in joining can contact Central West sports co-ordinator Libby Tandy at firstname.lastname@example.org. The central west region, which encompasses Lithgow, Bathurst, Orange, Blayney and surrounds, will host a regional soccer tournament in Orange from June 30.