22 Special Olympics athletes joined Bulldogs players and staff to compete in 4 teams, battling it out to see who would be crowned Bulldogs Mini Special Olympics Champions.
The event began with the relay, with each competitor running their leg of the race carrying a football between their knees. Tactical play emerged early, with most athletes adopting the skippy technique, jumping the length of the race like a kangaroo.
Teams then split into two groups and competed in Pass the Ball and Bowls challenges. The competitive side of all athletes shone as they tried to determine who had the most skill and accuracy. There were lots of budding footballers in the Special Olympic Athlete ranks, whilst some of our Bulldogs players might be encouraged to not give up their day jobs to become lawn bowlers.
A score tally at the completion of the first 3 events showed teams neck and neck for the title of Champions. The last event the Obstacle Course would be the decider.
The teams lined up for the race, staring down the course of jumps, tackle bags and some smiling Bulldogs players and staff, holding hit shields with a twinkle in their eye.
The Special Olympics athletes zipped through the course, launching themselves at the tackle bags and landing some sweet tries. Bulldogs players and staff struggled a little more as they tried to fend off some very excited hit shield defenders.
The race was close and the points even closer. At the final tally, there were only 6 points splitting the top two teams. The Blue Team featuring players Dene Halatau, Tony Williams and Mick Ennis emerged as champions, taking out the Inaugural Bulldogs Mini Special Olympics title.
Aiden Tolman joined Fran Eustace from Special Olympics Australia to present every competitor with a certificate and gifts from the Bulldogs and Special Olympics Australia. Competitors then joined together for photos, autographs and a few kicks around the field.
The Bulldogs Special Mini Olympics comes ahead of the Round 24 clash against the Rabbitohs and coincides with the announcement of the $5,000 grant from the Bulldogs to support this great organisation. The two teams will compete for the Special Olympics Cup, in celebration of our Special Olympics Athletes and to raise awareness of their achievements.
The Special Olympics 2013 Asia Pacific Games will be held in Newcastle between November 30 and December 7 this year. The Games will bring together 32 nations from across the Asia Pacific region, represented by over 2,500 athletes and their carers .
The Bulldogs would like to thank Fran Eustace from Special Olympics Australia and Kasey Badger from NRL Development for assistance in running the event, and Bulldogs players and staff for giving their time to support the Bulldogs Mini Special Olympics. Most of all we would like to thank the Special Olympics Athletes, whose approach to competition is both inspiring and most of all, fun!
To learn more about Special Olympics Australia or if you are interested in getting involved please click HERE