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Jill Westenra

Wanting to share her love of sport is what motivated athletics Coach, Jill Westenra, to become involved with Special Olympics New Zealand.

“I have been coaching athletics for the Special Olympics Hutt Valley since 2008 and have been heavily involved in sport at a competitive level for years! I represented New Zealand at the World Championships in triathlons, multi-sport and mountain running from 1991 to 2004/5, and I just wanted to share my love and experiences with others.

“Giving these guys the right support and encouragement about how much they can achieve is what really motivates me.”

The Special Olympics World Summer Games 2015 is the first year away with Special Olympics for Jill, although she did take a team to the Trans Tasman Tournament in Cairns, for Hutt Valley.

“Not only are the Games a great a personal achievement for the athletes as they have often reached further than ever before, but the friendship, the travel outside New Zealand and showing off what Kiwis are like, and who we are, makes it all incredibly worthwhile.

“I feel privileged to share the upcoming months with my six athletes. I know how special it is to represent your country on the international stage.”

Jill, who works for a charitable trust, adds that volunteering for Special Olympics has opened doors to a new community of people for her and she simply loves being part of the athletes’ lives.

“I also love the honesty and directness they have and have had many a laugh with their mums and dads.”
What I love about Special Olympics New Zealand:

They allow the athletes to be themselves and achieve to whatever level without being judged. Everyone is a winner.


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