More than 3000 athletes, coaches and supporters will descend on Hamilton when the city hosts the Special Olympics National Summer Games 2021.
Special Olympics is a global organisation giving children and adults with intellectual disabilities opportunities to train and compete in a range of sports, and strive to represent their regions at national events and their country at international games.
Special Olympics New Zealand CEO Carolyn Young made the host city announcement today (13 November) at Claudelands – where bocce (a floor-based Italian ball sport) and indoor bowls will be held, along with the Opening Ceremony and Closing Ceremony.
“We’re really excited to be bringing the Special Olympics National Summer Games to Hamilton,” Ms Young says.
“The Hamilton City Council staff have been great to deal with throughout the bid process.”
Hamilton made a strong and positive bid for the event, which combines robust competition with an opportunity for athletes to have fun and forge friendships with their peers, Ms Young says.
The four-yearly Special Olympics National Summer Games will see more than 1300 athletes compete in 11 sports across nine venues – several of which are owned by the Council. Porritt Stadium and its surrounding park will host athletics and football, swimming competitions will be held at Waterworld, The Peak will be the venue for basketball, and equestrian competitions will be at Waikato Equestrian Centre at Pukete Farm Park.
It’s the first time the event has been held in Hamilton since 1993.
Ms Young says the event, taking place in the second week of December 2021, will run for five days with competition held over three and a half days. The budget to hold the event exceeds $2M and planning takes the best part of two years, with an estimated economic impact of $3.4M for the city.
Athletes will be housed in a range of accommodation including Wintec and University of Waikato – the latter the venue for the powerlifting competition.
Hamilton Deputy Mayor Geoff Taylor says the Special Olympics National Summer Games 2021 will be prestigious, and one of the biggest multi-sport events in New Zealand.
“I’d like to thank Special Olympics New Zealand for putting their faith in the city and the people of Hamilton to turn on a fabulous event worthy of your organisation, and worthy of your athletes,” he says.
“I know you won’t find a warmer and more genuine welcome than the one you will get from Hamiltonians.”