From the 1st to the 7th of December 2,000 Special Olympics athletes, 600 coaches and officials, over 4,000 volunteers and an estimated 200,000 spectators from over 32 countries in the Asia Pacific region converged on the City of Newcastle to take part in the first ever Special Olympics Asia Pacific Games.
I am extremely proud to say that 130 of those volunteers were from Cisco’s Product and Service Sales, Technical Services, Advanced Services, Technical Assistant Centre (TAC), Customer Service, Marketing, HR and other functional groups. These Cisco employees made the trip up the F3 from Sydney to devote their personal time to what was a fantastic event, but one that could not have happened without the contribution of the over 4,000 volunteers.
The Special Olympics Asia Pacific Games is 2013’s biggest event in regional Australia and was opened by Quentin Bryce, Governor General of Australia, in a glittering opening ceremony. The highlight of the event was the sheer enthusiasm shown by the athletes, officials and spectators from all the countries participating. The Special Olympics are all about inclusion and making everyone feel a part of something big. Spectators attending the opening ceremony and each event showed the same levels of enthusiasm for the small contingents of athletes from likes of Mongolia and Cambodia as they did for the mammoth 398-strong Australian Team.
Cisco has a long running history of joining forces with the Special Olympics to help run events here in Australia. In fact, in May this year Cisco joined forces with Cricket NSW and the Penrith Panthers to support the Special Olympics at the NSW Special Olympics Community Disability Sports Day at Centrebet Stadium in Penrith.
The Special Olympics Asia Pacific Games was hugely successful both for the Special Olympics as an organisation, for the city of Newcastle and the entire Hunter region. A massive thank you to the organising committee for working with Cisco’s 130-strong army of volunteers and providing the opportunity to give back to the community in such a meaningful way.