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National Games Success

Jason’s Redemption Olympics

Despite achieving a great result 4 years ago in the Special Olympics National Games Jason headed to Adelaide to prove what he believed he was capable of …… winning Gold.  And that is exactly what Jason did!  Jason goes by the motto “it’s not the ball that makes mistakes” so he reviewed his training regime so he was as well prepared as possible.

Jason worked on his diet to peak his fitness and joined the gym to strengthen his back and upper body strength and increase his knee flexibility and strength to assist smooth bowling techniques. Jason increased his weekly training sessions from 2 to 3 and increased his games per training session from 2 to 3. And it paid off.  Jason won a Gold medal in the Singles and Doubles events and Bronze in the Team event.

While bowling is a passion for Jason there are many other benefits for him.  Training and attending the tournaments and Olympics has increased Jason’s confidence with people he does not know.  There was a time when a lot of noise and activity unsettled Jason, now he is able to manage that in a way that minimises his anxiety.

He has developed the capacity to be flexible and more relaxed. This has had a positive impact on his workplace and social experiences.

Passion and persistence pays off for Gavin

Gavin was selected to represent his state by the New South Wales Special Olympics’ Committee. His outstanding ability to bowl to such a high standard won him the nod from stiff competition.

Gavin strives constantly to improve his bowling.  Gavin has worked very hard at improving his bowling skills.   Every Friday night as part of the Valley Red Devils he battles with the best in the district and backs that up with another competition on Wednesday night.

Gavin’s fundraising participation included BBQ stalls at Forster and a friendly bowling clash between Dundaloo’s Taree and Forster teams.
Gavin was presented with many challenges over the week of competition including, being away from his own bowling team mates, away from his home environment, familiar surroundings and friendly faces.

Gavin’s accolades included a Silver Medal for his singles match, a Fifth place for his doubles and a Gold medal for representing New South Wales and winning the bowling competition.  He came very close to winning the singles competition, he was very proud of his second place and has been really motivated for the next challenge. Gavin enjoyed meeting new friends, his meal on the plane and bringing home his medals to show staff and his friends,

A memorable experience for Teila

Congratulations to Teila who competed in swimming and came away with a Gold Medal in the 50m backstroke, Bronze in the 4 x 50m freestyle relay and ribbons in 50m freestyle and 50m breastroke.

Teila trained twice a week, most weeks leading up to the Games as well as attending training camps.  A highlight of the preparation was getting a new uniform.  As with all amateur athletes fundraising and sponsorships is always a challenge and Teila is grateful for all the efforts of family and locals who supported her.

Travelling to training camps was another challenge.  Organising trips with other parents and team members to both local competitions and training as far away as Cessnock required some skill and coordination.

Some highlights for Teila were catching up with Queensland swimmers she had met at the last nations and meeting up with friends she doesn’t see too often.  The Opening Ceremony was memorable as were the pandas, lions and meerkats she saw at the Adelaide zoo on her day off.  Teila was also really enjoyed watching the gymnasts

“The experience was demanding and tiring at times but I am pleased with my results and proud of what I have achieved,” said Teila.  “I will keep up my swimming training but not as intensely as it was in my preparation for the Special Olympics.”

Lifelong learning for Grant

On reflection Grant can see the experience of the Special Olympics has impacted on him in profound ways.  “I have learnt to have compassion for others,” he said, “I have learnt that there are people less fortunate than myself who didn’t have the same supports that I had to get to the Nationals.  I have also learnt to have a better understanding of sportsmanship through seeing how people react to winning and losing.”

The games certainly presented some challenges.  Adapting to different food and accommodation as well as the Olympic grade ten pin lanes. “I felt an enormous disadvantage compared to others as that was my first experience with these types of lanes,” Grant explained.  “I have learnt to overcome my feelings and realise that even in bad conditions I still got great results“ he said.

Grant values the experience and the opportunity to meet new friends and visiting a new place. Grant described his preparation as “physically excruciating hours of training and gym work” combined with multiple fundraising events with family and team mates.

His hard work paid off and he is proud of his fifth placing especially in an unfamiliar environment.  He says he feels like an Australian champion and we agree he is!