The Halberg Games has kicked off its first day of competition with 148 physically disabled and visually impaired athletes competing at Kings College.

Competitors between ages 8 – 21 have come from all over the country for the annual games to compete in regional teams across 20 different sports including swimming, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby and athletics.

Halberg lead adviser John Sigurdsson says the games are about getting involved in sport and having fun.

He said that for some competitors the games were their only chance to play specialised sports.

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"Power chair football needs eight people who all use power chairs and live basically in the same area, so it's really hard to get a game organised in other smaller places."

Over 100 competitors have travelled to the event from around the country, with some coming from as far as Otago and Southland, vying for the chance to take home the trophy for best regional team.

Competitors aged between 8-21 are competing in sports including as swimming, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby and athletics.
Competitors aged between 8-21 are competing in sports including as swimming, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby and athletics.

There were also over 200 supporters cheering on the competitors from the sidelines.

Sigurdsson said the games were a chance for athletes to represent their regions and try some different sports but there is also an opportunity to persue more competivate pathways into Paralympics traiing events.

The games will run for a further two days, with a closing ceremony on Sunday.

There are five trophies up for grabs, including the Sir Murray Halberg Cup for the Most Outstanding Athlete of the Halberg Games.

Today also marked the launch of the Sport New Zealand Disability Plan by Sports Minister Grant Robertson.

Halberg Foundation chief executive Shelley McMeeken said it was fantastic to have the new plan, which was designed to transform opportunities in play, active recreation and sport for disabled people.

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