The inaugural Special Olympics Asia Pacific Games for athletes with an intellectual disability will be held in Australia in December 2013. Newcastle has secured the winning bid against strong competition from cities in India and Malaysia.
Newcastle to welcome 1,700 athletes on a journey to achieve their personal best
In less than 22 months, Australia will welcome more than 1,700 Special Olympics athletes, 600 coaches, 4,000 volunteers, and approximately 200,000 spectators from 25 nations across the Asia Pacific region, who will compete in a range of Olympic-style sports.
“The Special Olympics movement is very close to my heart,” says Quentin Bryce, Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia at Sydney Opera House, announcing the decision by the Special Olympics International board of directors.
“I hope the Games will build a platform of awareness and support for people with an intellectual disability and I urge all Australians to support athletes along their journey to the Games and beyond,” Bryce says.
Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Special Olympics is the largest grassroots sport and humanitarian organisation in the world, having grown from a few hundred athletes to more than 3.7 million in over 185 countries in all regions of the world.
Gill Stapleton, CEO, Special Olympics Australia says the win is a great opportunity for Special Olympics athletes to share their successes and talents with members of the broader community. “A Games of such magnitude is just reward for the athletes and volunteers who give their best at weekly sports training. “This is a great opportunity for them to share their talents with the wider community. I can’t wait to see athletes from across Asia Pacific doing their best and experiencing the thrill of competition.
The Special Olympics Asia Pacific Games will provide a unique opportunity to support local athletes from 25 countries including Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Nepal, Japan and New Zealand to access sport, a supportive community, and the opportunity to achieve their personal best.