Spe­cial day for spe­cial folk

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Scott Morgan

Chil­dren ran, jumped and threw their way into the record books at Mt Smart Sta­dium this week.

The Auck­land Sec­ondary and Spe­cial Schools Ath­let­ics Rib­bon Day saw more than 300 young peo­ple with spe­cial needs com­pet­ing in track and field events.

Stu­dents were split into groups of three-to-five com­peti­tors based on pre­vi­ous re­sults.

Mount Roskill Gram­mar stu­dent Paul Takiwa says he hoped to win all his events, in­clud­ing the 15 to 21-year-old male long jump ti­tle.

“I want to beat the other guys. I’ve been train­ing hard with my friends.”

Long Bay Col­lege stu­dent Mark Halk­yard was ec­static with his sec­ond plac­ing in the boy’s 12 to 15-year-old 100m sprint.

“I’ve never done it be­fore but I’m over the moon,” he says.

Henderson High School stu­dent Gareth Scott had a busy day, tak­ing part in the 12 to 15-year-old 100m, turbo javelin and soft­ball throw, as did Caleb Maine from Paku­ranga Col­lege.

North­cote Col­lege’s Ashleigh Zan­der rep­re­sented her school for the third year at the event.

“It’s about do­ing your best,” she says.

Com­peti­tors were helped by stu­dents from Pine­hurst School and Henderson High as well as of­fi­cials from the New Zealand In­sti­tute of Sport and Auck­land Ath­let­ics.

Pine­hurst year 13 stu­dent Mitchell Cas­sidy says he had no hes­i­ta­tion in vol­un­teer­ing his time.

“I’ve done it for a few years now – it’s prob­a­bly one of the big­gest I’ve been to.

“It’s re­ally good to see ev­ery­one com­pete.”

Spe­cial Olympics re­gional sports co­or­di­na­tor Hay­ley Mitchell says the ath­letes had a great time de­spite a bit of rain in the af­ter­noon.

“Ev­ery­one was in re­ally good spir­its,” she says.

“The ath­letes gave their all out there and they can be proud of them­selves.”

Pho­tos: JA­SON OXENHAM

Lift off: Paul Takiwa of Mt Roskill Gram­mar takes part in the long jump at Mt Smart Sta­dium.

Wheel power: Caleb Maine of Paku­ranga Col­lege takes part in the 12 to 15-year-old boys 100m race at Mt Smart Sta­dium.

Air­borne: Ashleigh Zan­der of North­cote Col­lege hurls the ball in the soft­ball throw at the Auck­land Sec­ondary and Spe­cial Schools Ath­let­ics Day.

On the run: Henderson High’s Gareth Scott stretches out in the 12 to 15-year-old boys 100m.

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