Special Olympics West Coast National Games 2021
Westland High School alumni selected to attend the West Coast National Special Olympics in Hamilton.
Special Olympics West Coast is today a familiar name, but it is a relatively short time since Westland High became involved and since the West Coast once again became established as its own entity under Special Olympics New Zealand.
All of our te Whare Atawhai (House of Kindness) students back in 2015-16 started to become involved in school events organised by Special Olympics to compete in basketball and swimming against other visiting South Island schools. We progressed to attending weekly training sessions with swimming and basketball on alternate weeks in order to improve skill levels and fitness for our students. It was also a marvellous opportunity for our students to meet and make new friends. We even had extra coaching provided for us by students in the middle and senior school at WHS. We were becoming competitive! During these early days we took a group from TWA away to an event in Ashburton. It was a wonderful trip and we learnt so much more about the Special Olympics and new friendships for athletes and coaches began to be established. Some of our star performers at that event have since left Westland High School and are still actively involved in Special Olympics West Coast. Since the West Coast became a club they were able to extend the group to include athletes of all ages. Special Olympics West Coast currently has 50 plus athletes, of all ages, who attend one or both of the training sessions on Fridays.
Our Alumni who have been selected to attend National Games this year are Patrick Green, James Johnston, Chelsea Quaife and Reuben Fulton. Patrick is competing in swimming and James,Chelsea and Reuben are representing us in basketball. Each of them had to qualify in order to be eligible by attending events with other clubs, this has been challenging due to Covid and many events and training sessions had to be cancelled last year. But eventually everyone qualified and they are now training extra hard to prepare for December!
National Games are held every 4 years and this is the first time that Special Olympics West Coast are taking a group. They are taking 3 swimmers and 11 basketball players and a support group of 7 adults. It’s quite a financial and logistical effort! They are flying to Hamilton leaving on December 7th, returning December 15th. It will be a very exciting and action packed week, there will be athletes from all over New Zealand. It will be so exciting to see our athletes perform and make new friends from other clubs around New Zealand.
We are very proud of their achievements and the fact that they are representing the West Coast and wish them all the very best in their efforts to get to Hamilton and participate at such a big event!