Police support Special Olympics athletes

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Flame of hope . . . South Cantebury Special Olympics representatives, police officers and supporters finished their Flame of Hope procession at the Bay Hill on Friday. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

The Special Olympics Flame of Hope came to Timaru on recently.

Timaru police officers joined Special Olympic athletes to carry the flame from the North St police station through the town centre on October 6.

The event is part of the Law Enforcement Torch Run relaying torches from both ends of New Zealand into Wellington before the 2017 Special Olympics National Summer Games late next month.

The Timaru event was one of 31 events around the country before the 1300 athletes from 42 Special Olympics clubs and three schools descend on Wellington on November 27.

The competition, held every four years, is the largest event for athletes with intellectual disabilities in New Zealand and will run from November 27 to December 1.

It is different from Paralympics New Zealand, which supports athletes with physical disabilities.

Special Olympics chief executive Kathy Gibson said the Law Enforcement Torch Run was one of the major highlights in the lead-up to next month’s games.

“The support of the New Zealand police and other service personnel is hugely valued.”

Torch run director Inspector Mark Harrison, of Palmerston North, said law enforcement staff were “delighted” to be able to support the torch run again.

“The flame represents so much of what policing is about – it stands for hope, courage, opportunity, inspiration and equality.”