3 Otago athletes for Korea

Three Otago athletes will be among the 2300 athletes taking part in the 10th Special Olympics World Winter Games in Pyeong Chang, South Korea, later this month.

Skiers Hugh Brown, from Waitati, and Katrina Hewett, from Oamaru, and snowboarder Morgan James, from Wanaka, have spent the past year training and competing to gain a place in the 10-strong New Zealand team.

The athletes, accompanied by six coaches, assistant coaches, volunteers and parents, will leave Auckland on January 19 and spend 10 days acclimatising to the cold conditions in Korea before the games begin on January 29.

Leader of the New Zealand delegation Senior Sergeant Brian Benn said yesterday this year's Special Olympics, for those with an intellectual disability, were the largest ever and featured seven categories including alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, speed skating, figure skating, floor hockey and demo sport floorball.

He said the athletes were ''really looking forward'' to the trip, for which they had been training hard for a year.