LIFE AFTER THE ALL BLACKS
What’s Richie up to now?
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.”