Media Release by The Hon Bill Shorten MP

Special Olympics open in Adelaide

Joint Media Release with:

  • The Hon Kate Ellis MP, Minister for Sport

The Minister for Sport Kate Ellis and Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities Bill Shorten today joined more than 850 athletes to open the ninth National Special Olympics in Adelaide today.

Ms Ellis said the event is a great opportunity for her electorate of Adelaide and presents a chance for even more Australians to get active.

‘The competitors here today are extraordinary athletes and a powerful reminder of the potential that people with disability have. This event demonstrates what they can achieve if they are given an opportunity,’ she said.

‘The Rudd Government wants to help create a more inclusive sporting system where all Australians can participate in sport at a grassroots and elite level – and the Special Olympics is leading the way,’ Ms Ellis said.

‘The Games are expected to inject more than $3 million into the South Australian economy, with about 5,000 people converging on our city from around Australia.’

Mr Shorten said the Games will run until 24 April and are a great opportunity for athletes with an intellectual disability to compete across twelve sports.

‘The Special Olympics movement enriches the lives of Australians living with an intellectual disability by providing opportunities to be involved in competitive sport,’ Mr Shorten said.

‘The Games are the culmination of work by Special Olympics Australia, which supports around 4000 athletes in more than 250 sports clubs across Australia.

‘The Games help people with disability to overcome stereotypes and prejudice by giving them an identity beyond their impairment,’ he said.

‘This week the community can see these competitors are simply remarkable athletes competing at the national level, not people defined by an intellectual disability.’

From these Games a team will be chosen to represent Australia at the Special Olympics Summer World Games to be held in Athens from 25 June to 4 July 2011. About 7,500 athletes with an intellectual disability from 185 nations will compete in 22 sports.

‘I wish all athletes success in their chosen sports in these Games, especially those aiming for a place on Australia’s team for the World Games in Greece next year,’ Mr Shorten said.