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James Wilson

212-SO-01-02-17-LR.jpgTwenty-four year-old James Wilson has a firm goal in mind for his future role as a Special Olympics Global Messenger – to spread the message that people with intellectual disabilities are amazing people and can achieve great things.

And James is a living example of that message! He first got involved with Special Olympics in 2011 after moving from Christchurch to Auckland following the Christchurch earthquakes. He initially joined the Manukau Club, but now competes with Special Olympics Howick-Pakuranga.

James has tried his hand at a range of sports, but has found his favourites in aquatics and powerlifting, which he helped to establish at Special Olympics Howick-Pakuranga in 2016 with the support of a local CrossFit club.

He’s taken part in numerous Tier 1 and 2 events, as well as the 2013 National Summer Games where he won a gold, silver and bronze medal for swimming.

“Previously I was only able to take part in sport from the sidelines,” James says. “Joining Special Olympics has meant that I can now participate in sport as an athlete rather than just a supporter or water boy, although I still enjoy making a lot of noise from the sidelines when supporting my fellow athletes!”

Along with his regular training and competition, James is a member of Special Olympics Howick-Pakuranga’s Athlete Leadership Programme. In this role he attends part of the monthly Committee meetings to give an update on powerlifting and contribute to Committee business, assists with fundraising and events, and also attends the Upper North Island Athlete Leadership Council Meetings four times a year. James also takes pride in showing new athletes the ropes when they join the Club.

“I’m their friendly face and their go-to person for help. I like to share my personal story about the benefits I’ve gained from Special Olympics – it’s not just a chance to play sports but it’s also a great community full of wonderful people.”

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