Games of Faith planned for city

Faith Leech, pictured in 2012.

Faith Leech, pictured in 2012.

A TWO-DAY carnival for Special Olympics will be run in Bendigo later this year.

It will the first time the regional games will be held in the city with the Bendigo Special Olympics team inviting athletes from 13 regions across Victoria to participate in the competition. 

The Special Olympics have been named the Games of Faith in honour of the late Faith Leech.

Leech, Bendigo's only female gold medallist, was the patron for the games. 

The swimming champion passed away in September last year, aged 72. 

The Games on  July 12 and 13 will include aquatics and ten-pin bowling. 

Bendigo Special Olympics Swimming squad head-coach Michele Berryman-Cooper expected more than 100 athletes to compete in more than 80 swimming and ten-pin bowling events. 

She said Special Olympics, an international organisation for people with a disability, had been operating in Bendigo for the past 20 years. 

"Our athletes have had considerable success in a variety of competitions including regional games, state games, interstate competitions and Asia Pacific games," she said. 

"We are one of the many Special Olympics programs around Australia transforming the lives of people with an intellectual disability through regular sport, competition and personal development.

Our focus is on helping all people with an intellectual disability reach their personal best. - Michele Berryman-Cooper

"Our focus is on helping all people with an intellectual disability reach their personal best, regardless of their skills."

Berryman-Cooper said the region's athletes were already counting down to the games. 

She said it was great to have such a big sporting event in our own backyard. 

"It is exciting, it is going to be a lot of fun," Berryman-Cooper said. 

"Since we had the state games in April this year everyone has been keen on getting involved for these games."

To assist with organising the Games, the Bendigo Special Olympics committee is calling for people in the community for their support. 

Berryman-Cooper encouraged people who wanted to get involved to email her at cooperscave@bigpond.com  

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