Olympic Refugee Sport Day

Published on June 20, 2018
Posted in Executive Board | Auckland and Northland | Central North Island | Lower North Island | Canterbury Westland | Otago Southland

Refugee participant practising karate
[Above: Photo from New Zealand Olympic Committee website]

The Olympic Refugee Sport Day event was held on 19th June 2018, to mark both the World Refugee Day on June 20th and the Olympic Day on June 23rd.

Hundreds of refugees aged from 11 to 18 years were invited to the Trust Arena in Auckland, to try different sports including karate that will be part of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

“Sport and recreation has a significant positive impact on refugees’ well-being and development, so we organised today to help these young people have a bit of fun, try some new sports and make new friends”, says New Zealand Olympic Committee Youth Olympic Games Chef de Mission - Barbara Kendall.

Photo of refugee children from NZ Olympic website
[Above: Photo from New Zealand Olympic Committee website]

Link to news item on the New Zealand Olympic Committee website:
Young refugees learn new skills alongside Olympians

Sian Scott (2017 Oceania Champion for Senior Female Kumite -55kg) represented Karate New Zealand and held 30-minute basic karate sessions throughout the day, with pad work plus a fun game of shoulders-and-knees. Even Barbara Kendall (Olympic Windsurfing Champion) and Evelyn Williamson (who competed at the first Olympic triathlon at the 2000 Summer Olympics) joined in one of the sessions and there were 100 kids in total who tried karate.

Sian Scott teaching boy to kick pad

[Above: Still photo from Newshub video]

“It was wonderful to introduce Karate to so many children and teenagers. Even the teachers, volunteers and some of the Olympians gave it a go! For many people, trying something new is scary and Martial arts/combat sport is one of those things that most people want to try but it's intimidating making that first step into the scene. The best part was helping to breakdown some of those mental barriers. Everyone was smiling and got a taste of just how personally rewarding Karate is.”, says Sian Scott.

Link to article and video on Newshub:
Hundreds of refugees take part in Olympic sport event 

KNZ extends their appreciation for the invitation from the NZOC to Rob Page - Olympic Education Manager and Tara Pryor - Chief Operations Officer.

Excerpt of Letter of Thanks from NZOC below:

Hi all,

On behalf of the NZ Olympic Committee I want to thank you all so much for your efforts on Tuesday. The weather came good and it was a really successful day all round. Feedback from schools and students has been amazing – they loved all the sports available. 

We will be following up with schools and the students who attended, and encouraging participation either at school or in clubs so if there are any clubs you would like us to promote please send those through to me. The schools involved on the day were Massey, Waitakere, Kelston Girls and Boys, Mt Roskill Grammar, Avondale, Mangere, Edmund Hillary, James Cook, MAGS, Selwyn, Lynfield, Otahuhu, and Papatoetoe, Henderson, and Mt Roskill  Intermediates (plus 20 kids from the Mangere Refugee Centre.

There has been some great media coverage, and the IOC are running quite a feature on our day as well.  I’ve attached some links if you haven’t seen these, including a cool video made by basketball.  We are in the process of editing our video and have some excellent footage to use.  There was good coverage on The Crowd Goes Wild but there is no link to that.

We will also send through a completed video we are making plus unused footage of your sport in the next week or two.  Don’t hesitate to ask if you need any more info for any reporting.

Thanks again,

Rob Page
Olympic Education Manager
New Zealand Olympic Committee

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