Otago powerlifters Ryan Stewart and Bradley Caffell are
expected to reach the podium at the Special Olympics regional
summer games in Dunedin this weekend.
Powerlifting is a new sport for Special Olympics and will be
contested in Dunedin for the first time. It will be held in
the Moana Pool seminar room.
It is one of the 10 sports being contested by 258 athletes
from 10 Special Olympics clubs in the two-day event. They are
backed by 64 coaches and 156 volunteers and other officials.
The other sports are aquatics (Moana Pool), athletics
(Caledonian Ground), basketball (Edgar Centre), bocce (Lion
Foundation Arena), equestrian (Dunedin Pony Club, Halfway
Bush), football (Caledonian Ground), golf (Chisholm Park),
indoor bowls (Lion Foundation Arena) and tenpin bowling
Other notable Otago competitors are Liam Smith (Lawrence,
athletics), Phillip Lomas (Dunedin, swimming) and the
football team that won the inaugural transtasman title in
Wellington last year.
Three girls from Taieri High School will form the Otago team
that will compete in equestrian for the first time.
There will be 101 athletes from Otago competing at the
This event will provide officials with a dress rehearsal
before the national games are held in Dunedin next year.
Athletes can use the event to qualify for entry to the
national games. At regional games level, gold, silver and
bronze medals are awarded, and ribbons are awarded to those
finishing from fourth to eighth place.
The aim of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports
training and athletics competition in a variety of
Olympic-type sports for children and adults with an
The event is being organised by the Special Olympics Otago
club with the assistance of four "global messengers". These
are athletes who have been trained through the National
Athlete Leadership programme.
Matt Aitken, a former national champion in the throwing
events in athletics, is the most noted.
The others are Chris Reilly, Tom van der Lugt and Craig
The opening ceremony will be at the Edgar Centre tomorrow at
7.30pm and competition will be at different venues in the
city on Saturday and Sunday.