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100 Days To Go Until Special Olympics 2013 Asia Pacific Games

2,000 local performers join Opening Ceremony cast; Games Mascot unveiled

Welcome to Newcastle

Volunteers posing with Kit the Koala, official mascot of the Special Olympics 2013 Asia Pacific Games (PHOTO CREDIT: Sundance Photography Group)

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Newcastle, Australia, 23 August 2013 - Today Newcastle, Australia marked 100 days to go until the start of the inaugural Special Olympics 2013 Asia Pacific Games, the largest sports and humanitarian event ever staged in Newcastle for people with intellectual disabilities.

To mark the 100 days to go countdown, performers who are taking part in the Opening Ceremony joined volunteers and Special Olympics athletes at Hunter Stadium to meet Kit The Koala, official mascot of the Special Olympics 2013 Asia Pacific Games. Kit will greet over 2,000 Games participants from over 30 nations who will arrive in Newcastle from 30 November to take part in nine sports - Athletics, Badminton, Bocce, Basketball, Cricket, Football, Table Tennis, Ten Pin Bowling and Swimming.          

Special Olympics 2013 Asia Pacific Games Director Chris Heverin said the Mascot represented the warmth and friendship of Australia and the Newcastle region. "Kit's happy face, fun personality and enthusiasm for sport will see him visit all the competition venues during the Games and he'll also feature in the Opening Ceremony and other community events throughout the Games."

Local Talent at Opening Ceremony

Performers, Volunteers and Special Olympics athletes Celebrate 100 days to the first Special Olympics 2013 Asia Pacific Games (PHOTO CREDIT: Sundance Photography Group)

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The performers will be part of a two hour Opening Ceremony spectacular of music, dance and fireworks to be held at Hunter Stadium on Sunday 1 December 2013.
More than 2,000 local dancers, singers, acrobats, cheerleaders and artists have been recruited, representing dance schools, choirs, drama groups and other groups from around Newcastle, Gosford, Port Macquarie, Maitland and Cardiff.

Performance groups taking part in the Opening Ceremony of the Special Olympics 2013 Asia Pacific games include:
Centre Stage Performing Arts Perform Ability Program (Newcastle), Hunter School of Performing Arts (Newcastle), Hunter Arts Network (Newcastle- Hunter region), Rosie’s School of Rock (Newcastle)
Newcastle Dance Academy (Newcastle), Pam Lovett Dance Headquarters (Maitland), The Waltzing Matildas (Cardiff), The Marching Koalas (Newcastle)
Waratah Girls Choir(Newcastle).

Mr. Heverin said the involvement of local performers in the Opening Ceremony was a vital part of the event. "This is going to be an extraordinary event for Newcastle and the Hunter and it's the people of this region who will truly make it a success. The Opening Ceremony will celebrate not only the athletes of the Special Olympics but also the host community. This will be an amazing experience for locally based performers and a great opportunity to showcase the talent and skills of Newcastle and the Hunter region.”

About the Special Olympics 2013 Asia Pacific Regional Games

Special Olympics, a movement that reveals the full potential of people with intellectual disabilities through the transformative power and joy of sport, is holding its first Asia Pacific Regional Games in the city of Newcastle, Australia, over 10 days from 28 November to 7 December 2013. The Games will unite the Asia Pacific region through sports and celebrate the talents and abilities of people with intellectual disabilities, forming a new vision of acceptance.

The Special Olympics 2013 Asia Pacific Regional Games will be the largest sports and community event ever staged in Newcastle with more than 2,000 athletes and coaches in teams from over 30 Asia Pacific countries. The Games will be contested in nine sports, played in first class venues across Newcastle, with athletes accommodated in Games villages established in resort locations across the Hunter, Lake Macquarie and Port Stephens region. For more information, visit www.specialolympicsasiapacgames2013.com

About Special Olympics

Special Olympics is an international organization that unleashes the human spirit through the transformative power and joy of sports every day around the world. Through work in sports, health education and community building, Special Olympics is addressing inactivity, injustice, intolerance and social isolation by encouraging and empowering people with intellectual disabilities which leads to a more welcoming and inclusive society. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown from a few hundred athletes to more than 4.2 million athletes in 170 countries. With the support of more than one million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics is able to deliver 32 Olympic-type sports and more than 70,000 competitions throughout the year. Visit Special Olympics at www.specialolympics.org. Engage with us on: Twitter @specialolympics; fb.com/specialolympics; youtube.com/specialolympicshq, and specialolympicsblog.wordpress.com.

For media enquiries please contact:

Karyn Tan
Special Olympics
Asia Pacific Region
Phone: +65 8533 0114

Nicole Browne
Media Opps 
+61 414 673 762