Meet Local Special Olympics Athletes
The main thing Joshua Fergusson loves about Special Olympics is the people. Ever since he joined the organisation 11 years ago, he has made "heaps of friends from all around the country".
During his time with Special Olympics New Zealand Joshua has been involved with swimming, tenpin bowling, soccer, golf and bocce.
Now swimming is his main sport and he is lucky enough to have his mum Denise as his Head Coach.
In 2012 Joshua was selected to be a Global Messenger for Special Olympics New Zealand. The Global Messengers course is a cornerstone of Special Olympics New Zealand's Athlete Leadership Programme and provides specialist training to equip successful athletes with the skills and confidence to step into the wider community to share their stories.
The Special Olympics Athlete Leadership Programme is all about empowering athletes to experience opportunities they may not traditionally receive because of their intellectual disability.
Joshua works part-time at Furnware, a school furniture manufacturer, as a cleaner and furniture processor. He lives in Hastings with his Mum, two brothers and sister.
Damien Hayes is a member of the Special Olympics Hawke's Bay Club and trains weekly in swimming and golf. He regularly attends swimming carnivals and golfing tournaments where he has collected an impressive array of ribbons, medals and certificates.
Damien is fortunate to have dedicated parents who ensure he gets to his regular training sessions at Waipukurau Pool and also up to Hastings to train with the rest of his squad on a weekly basis. Damien attends Waipukurau College and lives with his family in Tikokino.
Damien’s dedication and hardwork has certainly paid off with him attending the Special Olympics New Zealand National Summer Games 2013 in Dunedin. The event was attended by over 4000 athletes from across New Zealand and Damien came away with a Silver, Bronze, 4th and 6th placings in his events.
The 18 year old has also represented New
Zealand on the Gold Coast, Brisbane, Australia along with 13 other New Zealand swimmers
at the Queensland State Swimming Games in October 2011. In 2013 Damien was nominated for the Central
Hawke’s Bay Junior Male Sportsperson of the Year award, we look forward to
watching the progress of this promising athlete in the future.