Bendigo to host the State Summer Games

COMPETITION: Cr Rod Fyffe, competitor Zachary Flint and manager Kevin O’Byrne. Picture: BRENDAN McCARTHYBENDIGO will host the 2015 Special Olympics State Summer Games.

The games are for athletes with an intellectual disability and will involve a weekend of competitions in numerous sports onApril 11 and 12.

Between 200 to 300 people are expected to compete.

Sports will include aquatics, athletics, bocce, cricket, equestrian, golf, softball and tennis.

Special Olympics Victoria state manager Kevin O’Byrne said the event offered a terrific opportunity for athletes to represent their local region.

“Certainly the games are very much a social event,” he said.

“It’s good not only for the athletes but also for the families and volunteers.

“(Competitors) aim to reach their personal best but it’s also quite competitive.”

He said the Special Olympics had a partnership with Victoria Police, and the games would kick off with a law enforcement torch run.

City of Greater Bendigo Cr Rod Fyffe said the games played an important role in creating an inclusive community, which showed that it valued people of all abilities.

Competitor Zachary Flint, who will represent Bendigo at the games in swimming and 10-pin bowling, said he was excited by the prospect of playing athis home town.

He said the event provided a great opportunity to make new friends and excel in his chosen sports.

“I meet new people and cheer everyone on,” he said.

“It gets more people motivated to get involved in sport.”

City of Greater Bendigo major events manager Terry Karamaloudis said the event would promote the city and provide a boost to the tourism sector.

“One of the great untold stories is we can only monitor competitors,” he said, adding that competitors often came to events with their families, enhancing the number of tourists flocking to the city.

“The event sector is a great vehicle for generatingnew traffic to Greater Bendigo,” he said.

“We’re delighted to showcase an important event like this.”

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