Spe­cial Olympian spans 30 years

Northern Outlook - - FRONT PAGE - EMMA DANGER­FIELD

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.

EMMA DANGER­FIELD

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.

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