By Corene Strauss
A warm welcome to our Special Olympics Australia community.
Today marks the one-year countdown to our 2021 Junior National Games proudly presented by NAB. On Sunday 24 October 2021 we will welcome hundreds of athletes in Launceston for a week of competition and a celebration of ability.
I’m also excited to share that our dates for our National Games have been confirmed as 7 – 13 April 2022. Our National Games will see a thousand athletes from across Australia take part in 10 competition and 4 demonstration sports.
We recently surveyed our community to choose their preferred mascot for the Games. The votes have been counted and I am pleased to introduce you to our Games mascot, Lonnie. Lonnie is a well-recognised native marsupial, commonly called a Tasmanian devil.
Lonnie and her family have had to overcome several serious health challenges to survive and thrive, and their resilience in the face of adversity and difficulty, mirror our athletes ability to rise above any challenge and embrace life to the fullest.
We want to welcome our valued partner, NAB as the presenting partner of our Games. NAB is a huge advocate for our athletes and did wonderful work for our 2018 National Games in Adelaide to drive awareness of intellectual disability and promote inclusive communities. We are honoured to have this incredible commitment and passion back for our next two Games.
I also want to welcome our major Games partners, Tasmania Government, City of Launceston and Gallagher, who will partner with us to stage the best Games yet.
2020 was indeed a year like we have never experienced before. It has been a challenging, stressful and at times lonely year, especially for people with intellectual disabilities.
2021 will be different. With our Games in Launceston, they will be a joyous celebration of warm friendship, strong community, new connections and inspirational achievement.
The community of Tasmania is without a doubt some of the friendliest, welcoming and most supportive you can find. I know that our athletes and families will be made to feel very welcome in the beautiful city of Launceston.
I cannot wait to see you all there.
Combining the transformative power of sport and a holistic approach to athlete well-being enables Special Olympics Australia to support a better life for people with an intellectual disability.
Special Olympics Australia strives to ensure that everyone living with an intellectual disability can participate in sport. Our dedicated network of volunteers creates accessible sports training, coaching and competition opportunities that allow people with an intellectual disability to reach their personal best – in sport and in life.