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New date for Special Olympics summer games

The New Zealand team at the last Special Olympics World Winter Games in Graz in 2017. Supplied image.

Special Olympics New Zealand has announced the new date for the Freemasons New Zealand National Summer Games after this year’s planned event had to be postponed due to Covid 19 restrictions.

The Games organisers have moved the four-yearly event to December 8-12, 2022, in Hamilton, exactly one year from the original dates.

“The Games are the pinnacle event for many of our athletes and we were heartbroken when we had to postpone, but with the current uncertainty we did not have any other options,” says Chief Executive Carolyn Young.

More than 1600 athletes and coaches, along with 600 volunteers, were expected to arrive in Hamilton next month to test themselves against sports people from 41 other clubs.

Now athletes will be arriving in 2022, competing in 10 disciplines across 8 venues all over Hamilton in what will be one of the year’s biggest multi-sport events in New Zealand.

“The postponement has been really hard for our athletes, the coaches and volunteers, who had been training, planning, booking flights and taken time off to come to the games. We hope that the extra year will give them more time to train and fundraise, just like the New Zealand athletes who competed at the Tokyo Olympics one year later,” says Young.

Like the ‘2020’ Tokyo Olympics, Special Olympics New Zealand will keep the event’s original time stamp and title, as the ‘2021’ National Summer Games, to stay within their normal four-year cycle.

The Special Olympics boss specially thanked all the volunteers in Hamilton and across New Zealand for taking time out to come to Hamilton and acknowledged the postponement would have been disappointing for them as well.

“We really hope that they can find time to sign up for the 2022 Games as well, because without our volunteers, there simply would not be any National Summer Games,” says Young.

“We will be reaching out to all our partners and volunteers in the coming weeks to give them an update, and of course we continue to look for national and local Waikato businesses who are keen to support our athletes.”

Young says many athletes have been through a very rough time, especially those in lockdown.

“Now that the date has been confirmed, athletes will have something to look forward to and kickstart their preparations.”

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