LIFE AF­TER THE ALL BLACKS

What’s Richie up to now?

New Zealand Fitness - - IN THIS ISSUE - By Lor­raine Thom­son

To­gether with Dan Carter and Ali Wil­liams, Richie’s char­ity iS­port is kick­ing off a cam­paign in which they ask peo­ple to do­nate old and used sport­ing equip­ment to be dis­trib­uted to those who can make use of it. The na­tional cam­paign is fo­cus­ing on col­lect­ing gear to give to schools that need a bit of a help­ing hand.

Pre­vi­ously known as For Ev­ery­one, iS­port fo­cuses on in­spir­ing young peo­ple to par­tic­i­pate in sport and be the best they can be, no mat­ter their cir­cum­stances. iS­port works with schools and lo­cal, re­gional and na­tional sport­ing bod­ies to iden­tify in­di­vid­u­als show­ing ta­lent in their cho­sen sport and with teams that need a help­ing hand, to give them an equal op­por­tu­nity to par­tic­i­pate and suc­ceed. The foun­da­tion also pro­vides the re­sources needed for these teams and in­di­vid­u­als to fund es­sen­tial costs such as travel, ac­com­mo­da­tion, equip­ment, uni­forms and com­pe­ti­tion fees.

The big-name trio, through their char­ity iS­port, pro­vide grants to teams and in­di­vid­u­als in lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties and teamed up with Par­a­lympics New Zealand af­ter iden­ti­fy­ing that ap­pli­ca­tions from the dis­abled com­mu­nity were low.

Re­cently re­tired Richie says they are de­ter­mined to lower the bar­ri­ers of en­try for all young sports­peo­ple, re­gard­less of their sit­u­a­tion.

“When we set-up iS­port, Dan, Ali and I re­ally wanted a ‘sport for all’ ap­proach. We’ve all been there our­selves. We know that get­ting into sport is one thing, but stay­ing in sport is another thing if you can­not af­ford things like club fees or equip­ment,” McCaw said.

“This is mul­ti­plied when you are a young per­son liv­ing with a dis­abil­ity be­cause you of­ten need spe­cial equip­ment that comes with a high price tag. There are also not as many lo­cal clubs or com­pe­ti­tions, some­times you have to travel. We want all kids to have ac­cess to sport and be the best they can be in the sport they love, no mat­ter their cir­cum­stances.”

The project first came to light when Wil­liams met young mem­bers of a lo­cal wheel­chair bas­ket­ball team last year.

With this year’s Rio Par­a­lympic Games fast ap­proach­ing, it is hoped the in­creased in­ter­est around the New Zealand Par­a­lympic team will in­spire young dis­abled peo­ple to try Para-Sport and ap­ply to the char­ity for sup­port.

“As a char­ity, we rely on a mix of do­na­tions, govern­ment fund­ing and com­mer­cial in­vest­ment to run our sport and com­mu­nity pro­grammes. To se­cure the sup­port of Kiwi sport­ing icons like Richie McCaw, Dan Carter and Ali Wil­liams, is huge,” Par­a­lympics New Zealand chief ex­ec­u­tive Fiona Al­lan said.

Mean­while Richie has been tak­ing on a com­plete new phys­i­cal chal­lenge, when he raced in the an­nual Osprey Packs ARC Adventure Race, a 24-hour kayak, moun­tain bike and trekking event that sees teams rac­ing through the night on a route that is kept se­cret un­til the start.

Con­tin­u­ing his new love af­fair with en­durance sports, Richie raced with Rob Ni­col, Sara Fair­maid and Ben Meyer, as a lead-in event for the South Is­land’s Godzone adventure race in April. Their char­ity team, aptly dubbed: Do­ing Godzone to Cure Kids, raced be­tween Thames and Whi­tianga and this in­volved sea kayak­ing, moun­tain bik­ing and trekking. The route this year was based on the day-to-day trav­els of an­cient Maori as they moved around the Coro­man­del Penin­sula fol­low­ing food, weather and some­times leg­end.

“It was great to have world cham­pi­ons like Richie tak­ing on new chal­lenges,” said ARC Adventure Race race ogan­iser Andy Reid. “One of the cul­tural as­pects of our sport is that mere mor­tals can com­pete along­side world cham­pi­ons. But nor­mally only other All Blacks get to com­pete next to a world cham­pion All Black, so hav­ing Richie on the start line was a high­light for many par­tic­i­pants.”

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