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In the lead up to the Special Olympics Cup this Thursday, the Bulldogs played host to some very special athletes to compete in a Mini Special Olympics at Belmore.

Bulldogs players and staff joined athletes from Special Olympics Australia, an organisation made up of volunteers who provide sports opportunities for all people with an intellectual disability regardless of their skills, to put on a fun day full of competitive activities.

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.

Josh Reynolds and Michael Ennis joined Nicola Stokes 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 25 clash against the Rabbitohs at ANZ Stadium this Thursday night 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 Bulldogs would like to thank Nicola Stokes from Special Olympics Australia and Ryan Borg 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!

The third annual Special Olympics Cup signifies an important partnership between the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, South Sydney Rabbitohs and Special Olympics Australia in providing a platform for thousands of Australians with an intellectual disability to reach their personal best both on and off the sporting field.

Bulldogs and Rabbitohs supporters can own a piece of history from the game. Both Clubs are auctioning off their match worn shorts which, thanks to the generosity of sponsors M&J Chickens and Alcatel, proudly feature the Special Olympics logo.

All shorts worn by the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs players during the NRL match against the South Sydney Rabbitohs on August 28, 2014 will be signed by the individual players and available for auction with all funds being donated to Special Olympics Australia.

Visit the Bulldogs Online Teamstore for more details!

To learn more about Special Olympics Australia or if you are interested in getting involved please click HERE