Sefiani assisted Special Olympics Australia, the leading sporting organisation for people with an intellectual disability, last week with announcing the 400-strong Australian Team for the inaugural Special Olympics Asia Pacific Games 2013, to be held in Newcastle from 1 to 7 December.
The announcement was made at a formal event hosted by Her Excellency the Honourable Ms Quentin Bryce AC CVO, Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia and Patron of Special Olympics Australia, and emceed by Olympic Champion, Geoff Huegill, at Admiralty House last week.
Team Australia at Admiralty House with Geoff Huegill and Her Excellency the Honourable Ms Quentin Bryce AC CVO, Governor-General of Australia
With less than 50 days until the Opening Ceremony, the Special Olympics Asia Pacific Games will welcome more than 2,500 athletes, 5,000 volunteers and more than 200,000 spectators from 32 countries to Newcastle, NSW Australia. Athletes from across the Asia Pacific region will compete in a range of Olympic-style sports including: aquatics; athletics; badminton; basketball; bocce; football; table tennis; ten pin bowling and cricket.
Ms Bryce congratulated the 400 Australian athletes with an intellectual disability who will represent Australia at the Games, and presented the Australian Team representatives with their uniforms.
Her Excellency the Honourable Ms Quentin Bryce and Special Olympics Australia athlete Keiran Corry
Other attendees at the event included Senator the Hon. Mitch Fifield, Assistant Minister for Social Services, the Hon. John Ajaka MLC, Minister for Ageing, NSW Minister for Disability Services and Minister for Illawarra, the Hon. Gabrielle Upton, NSW Minister for Sport and Recreation, Special Olympics Australian team athletes and national ambassadors, as well as 90 VIP guests.
As part of the event, Ms Bryce also announced the winner of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver (EKS) Award, which is presented annually to an athlete who has shown great leadership skills both on and off the sporting field. The EKS award is open to all Special Olympics Australia athletes and honours Special Olympics founder, Eunice Kennedy Shriver.
Melissa Eustace, winner of the 2013 EKS award is an enthusiastic and well-known Special Olympics ambassador. As a member of the Special Olympics Australia Dance Performance Group she has helped to raise $1million in support of Special Olympics Australia, and the group continues to perform and raise awareness of the cause with up to 30 performances per year.
Commenting on the team announcement, Mark Streeting, Chair of Special Olympics Australia said, “The Asia Pacific Games will be the largest multi-country sporting event for people with an intellectual disability ever held in the southern hemisphere.
“With less than two months to go, we are asking everyone to get behind Team Australia as they prepare to represent our nation at this spectacular event. Our athletes will be giving their personal best and we are inviting all Australians to give them your support.”
Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Special Olympics is the largest grassroots sport and humanitarian organisation in the world, having grown from a few hundred athletes to more than 3.5 million in more than 185 countries in all regions of the world.
The Games will represent a never-before-seen unity in Asia Pacific, providing a platform of personal achievement for thousands of people with an intellectual disability.
Find out more, view athlete stories and make a tax-deductible donation to support the team at www.specialolympics.com.au