Ageing, Disability & Home Care

A media release from the Premier of NSW: Win for the Hunter: NSW to host 2013 Asia Pacific Regional Games

14 March 2012



NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell today announced the inaugural 2013 Asia Pacific Regional Games would be held in Newcastle - following the success of a NSW Government backed bid with Special Olympics Australia.

“Australians are known the world over for their love of sport and I'm delighted Newcastle will welcome athletes to the inaugural Special Olympics Asia Pacific Regional Games in 2013,” said Mr O’Farrell who was joined at the announcement by Her Excellency, Ms Quentin Bryce AC CVO, Governor General of the Commonwealth of Australia.

“These Games will be the largest ever held for people with an intellectual disability in the Asia-Pacific region and the NSW Government is extremely pleased the City of Newcastle will be the host city,” he said.

“The Hunter is a great region with terrific sporting facilities and is well equipped to host this major event.

“This is a great event for Newcastle and NSW and an acknowledgement of the determination and spirit that embodies the Special Olympics movement,” Mr O’Farrell said.

The Special Olympics Asia Pacific Regional Games will see athletes from 25 countries competing in eight sports over nine days, with the economic impact to Newcastle and the Hunter region estimated at $10 million.

Minister for Sport and Recreation Graham Annesley welcomed the announcement.

“The NSW Government embraces the ideals of the Special Olympics movement and the promotion of sport for people with an intellectual disability,” he said.

“The staging of the Games will provide a unique opportunity to advance those ideals throughout New South Wales, Australia and the entire Asia Pacific region.”

It is estimated the event will attract five thousand international visitors attending the Games together with more than 1,700 athletes, 600 coaches supported by 4,000 volunteers and family members.

A large contingent of international media is also expected to cover the event.

Minister for Disability Services Andrew Constance congratulated Special Olympics CEO Gill Stapleton on her team’s efforts and success.

“Sport is a great social outlet and it plays a key role in breaking down the barriers that exist for people with a disability, and I applaud Gillian and her team for their continued efforts and today’s announcement is a just reward,” Mr Constance said.

“The staging of the 2013 Asia Pacific Regional Games also recognises the NSW Government’s commitment to a socially inclusive NSW, where people with a disability are afforded every opportunity to reach their full potential,” he said.

The Flame of Hope will play a significant role in announcing the coming of the games as it is symbol of the Special Olympics, with the Law Enforcement Torch Run program its guardian.

Minister for the Hunter Michael Gallacher, who is also a patron of Special Olympics Australia Junior National Games, said this is a fantastic opportunity to showcase the very best of the Hunter, in particular the city of Newcastle.

“This result reinforces the NSW Liberals & Nationals commitment to drive tourism across the Hunter and regional NSW,” Mr Gallacher said.

Local MP’s Tim Owen and Andrew Cornwell warmly welcomed the announcement, saying the event would be one of the biggest boosts to the local economy for decades.

“It is a real coup for the Hunter to have been able to secure this event,” Mr Owen said.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to showcase Newcastle’s sporting venues and the unique attributes the region has to offer,” Mr Cornwell said.

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