Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Scoring high at Special Olympics

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imee Van Aardt with principal of Pakuranga College Michael Williams (left) and her proud parents Dean and Tasha. Photo supplied.

Pakuranga College student Aimee Van Aardt won big at the 9th National Summer Games- Special Olympics held in Wellington–taking home four medals.

Aimee has Williams Syndrome, a genetic condition, present at birth and characterised by medical problems including cardiovascular disease, developmental delays and learning disabilities. It often occurs side by side with striking verbal abilities, highly social personalities and an affinity for music.

One of six others with Williams Syndrome competing at the recent games, the Year 11 student has been training since she was just eight-years-old and has achieved great results.

She took the gold for the 100m freestyle where she also achieved her personal best. She also claimed gold in the 50 metre butterfly.

Aimee also won a bronze in the 200 metre individual medley where she swam against the top two men in this category and was just 50 seconds slower. She was also third in the 50 metre individual medley relay.

Aimee says she wants to “become a global messenger for the Special Olympics”, which involves speaking about intellectual disability, the Special Olympics and her own experiences, with the aim of having a positive influence on the community and policy makers on issues concerning the intellectual disability community.

She also hopes to compete in the next Special Olympic Games at Abu Dhabi in 2019.

Principal Michael Williams congratulated Aimee and her parents Dean and Tasha saying, “Aimee is great to have in the school. She is always positive and cheerful.  She is very determined and works hard to achieve her goals. We are very proud of her achievements.”


Times delivery person claims Special Olympics medals

Times delivery person William Burr claimed a selection of medals at the Special Olympics held in Wellington last week.

William competed in the Ten Pin Bowling event, which he says is “a sport I really enjoy doing.”

He won a fourth place, fifth place and eighth place and proudly wears his medals around his neck.

He says the event is all about trying your hardest and having fun.

“You go down to enjoy yourself — even just getting these made my day.”

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