Special Olympian spans 30 years
North Canterbury Special Olympian Kyle Harpur will be aiming for a repeat of his success more than three decades ago when he heads off to the Special Olympics World Games in Dubai next year.
And in an interesting twist, he is teaming up with with former coach Mene Mene who trained him up for his gold medal in Indiana 31 years ago.
Not many people could claim to be an olympian spanning 30-plus years, let alone with the same coach.
But Harpur is determined to give it his all in the lead-up to next year’s World Games, and is already hitting the gym and getting into shape for the occasion, likely to be his last shot at competing on the world stage.
At 46 years old, Harpur knows he has his work cut out to compete against the younger competitors, but he is looking forward to working on his strength training before he meets up with Mene in August when he will begin work on his technique.
He has been selected to represent in shot put and javelin, and is confident he will be able to improve on his natural strength with some gym work and guidance from Mene.
Harpur and his brother Wayne have been involved in many disciplines including athletics and diving since they were young, their mother Ngaire being one of the founder members of Special Olympics in New Zealand. She is a keen advocate for Special Olympics and runs regular fundraising events, including the popular country music evening which is held annually at the Rangiora RSA.
It was Ngaire who tracked Mene down for the task of training her son ahead of next year’s event.
‘‘I was looking for a suggestion for a coach for Kyle and he said he would like to do it himself, which is just wonderful,’’ she said.
Originally selected for the team to play bocce, it transpired New Zealand was only allocated one female spot, so Harpur thought he was out of luck. So when the surprise email arrived saying he had instead been selected for athletics he said he was dumbfounded.
Now he is over the initial shock, and with Mene booked in to train him, all that remains is for Harpur to fundraise, starting with a sausage sizzle outside his work, Pak n Save, this Saturday, June 2.
Kyle Harpur has teamed up with former coach Mene Mene to help him prepare for the Special Olympics, 31 years after the pair won gold together.