Tasmanian athletes set for Special Olympics in Adelaide

READY TO RUMBLE: Tasmanian Special Olympics team members Aran Miller, Nick Heames, Connor Sheppard, Kirsten Harvey, Philip DeJong and Nicole Furfaro. Picture: Scott Gelston
READY TO RUMBLE: Tasmanian Special Olympics team members Aran Miller, Nick Heames, Connor Sheppard, Kirsten Harvey, Philip DeJong and Nicole Furfaro. Picture: Scott Gelston

Nick Heames’ agenda for next week’s Special Olympics comes as a good recipe for anyone looking to get the most out of their chosen sport. 

“Just getting some exercise, doing some running and being worn out after.”

The Launceston 25-year-old is one of seven Northern Tasmanians in a 25-strong state squad which will leave for Adelaide on Sunday.

A basketballer of about five years, Heames is keen to lead his side to victory and make the most of warm South Australian weather. 

“(I’m excited about) meeting new friends, playing against good teams and enjoying the sunshine over there,” he said.

“I’m playing point guard so basically I’m bringing the ball down and passing it off to teammates. I’d be happy with a couple of wins and even a medal if it happens.”

The Olympics come as a forerunner to Abu Dhabi’s World Games in 2019 – the first time the Games have been held in the Middle East.

The World Games are expected to attract 7000 athletes and half a million spectators – but for now Tasmania’s top athletes are more than content with competing on the national stage. 

“They’re very excited,” Team Tasmania head delegate Vanessa Haigh said.

“Our Special Olympics oath is ‘let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt’ so at the end of the day they’ll come in and do their best and that’s all we can hope for.

“We’ve got a couple of people who are having their first time at a national games so they’re extremely excited and we’ve got a few who have been all over the world.”

TEAM TASMANIA 

Allan Bakes, Ashlee Stanwix, Daniel Thompson, Gabrielle Turley, Kirsten Harvey, Mitchell Huxley, Nick Heames, Nicholas Carter, Ruby Tatnell (basketball) Briana Roberts, Daniel Marshall, Barry Cross, Penny Dishington, Johnathon Goss, Graeme Cross, Kenneth Cotton, (bocce) Peta-Jo Skurrie, Alan Kilmartin, Michelle Heald, Craig Hansen, Rodney Ayton, Harley Miller, Nicole Furfaro (bowling) Philip DeJong, Craig Davey, Leif Barstad, Aran Miller (swimming) Jordan Edwards, Connor Sheppard (tennis)