Athletes with intellectual disabilities will have more reason to enjoy winter this year following a memorandum of understanding between two of New Zealand’s leading national sports organisations.
Special Olympics New Zealand, which provides year-long sports training and competition for people with intellectual disabilities, has formalised a partnership with Snow Sports New Zealand, the organisation that runs the Adaptive Snow Sports New Zealand programme for all people with disabilities (physical and intellectual).
Under the partnership Special Olympics New Zealand athletes, and other New Zealanders with intellectual disabilities, will be eligible to become Adaptive Snow Sports New Zealand members. This entitles them to lift pass discounts from Cardrona Alpine Resort, Mt Dobson, Mt Hutt, Snowplanet, The Remarkables, The Snow Farm, Whakapapa, and Turoa; as well as retail benefits, and access toAdaptive Snow Sports New Zealand’s coaches, facilities, and equipment.
“This is a very exciting partnership for both our organisations. Special Olympics New Zealand has offered snow sports for many years and our athletes compete on the international stage at Special Olympics World Winter Games. By partnering with Snow Sports New Zealand we will be able to raise our profile in the snow sport sector and expand our programme alongside Adaptive Snow Sports New Zealand,” says Mike Ryan, National Sports and Coaching Director at Special Olympics New Zealand.
Jane Stevens, Adaptive Manager at Snow Sports New Zealand, says the memorandum of understanding provides both organisations with a pathway to extend snow sport offerings to New Zealand’s disabled community.
“Adaptive Snow Sports New Zealand and Special Olympics New Zealand are advocates for people with disabilities across the country. By working together we can provide a stronger voice for our members in the community and promote opportunities to other New Zealanders who may not have considered snow sports. By combining forces we will be able to improve our resources, events, training, and facilities for all New Zealand snow sport athletes with a disability,” says Ms Stevens.
Special Olympics New Zealand is holding several snow sports training camps and events over the next three months. Athletes will be aiming to qualify for the Special Olympics New Zealand 2015 National Winter Games, which will be held next September at Cardrona Alpine Resort, Wanaka.
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