A special day at Saxton Field
Story by: JOSH REICH - The Nelson Mail - Photo by: MARTIN DE RUYTER
It is unlikely there has ever been so many smiles and so much laughter in the short history of the Saxton Field athletics track as there was at the Special Olympics Schools Athletics Ribbon Day yesterday.
More than 120 students from 10 schools from across the top of the south took part in the annual track and field competition.
Every competitor was awarded a ribbon for completing an event, with some of the biggest smiles coming from the students with red winners ribbons pinned to their chest.
Ari Morris was delighted to finish the 100-metre run, with the aid of Waimea College special education teacher Rob Gould.
Mr Gould said Ari, 16, ran best when he was chasing someone, and had also entered the 50m walk and the shot put.
Ari wanted to send a special shout-out to his Poppa Derrol.
While at Nayland College, Graeme Porter competed in many events at Ribbon Day, and was now helping as a volunteer. He had gone on to represent New Zealand in basketball at the Special Olympic World Games in Shanghai, and was in the process of completing an athlete leadership programme at the Auckland University of Technology, which was teaching him goal setting and public speaking. He was also a global messenger for Special Olympics.
"Through Special Olympics I've gone from a shy student to a confident student, and now I'm helping the athletes and giving something back."
Upper South Island regional sports co-ordinator Graeme Bain said all the students should feel proud of themselves for participating.
"This is also letting them know that Special Olympics exists, so that when they leave school they can move into a Special Olympics club here in Nelson."
It was also a good way of showing the students' caregivers what they could achieve.