Covering the municipalities of Melton, Wyndham, Brimbank, Hobson’s Bay, Maribyrnong and Moonee Valley, Special Olympics Victoria, Melbourne West is one of the many volunteer driven Special Olympics programs around Australia, which offers a pathway for children and adults with an intellectual disability to train and compete in a number of sports.

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Melbourne West Inter-regional Aquatics Games 14th May 2016

Though swimmer numbers were down from previous years, a fun afternoon of swimming was enjoyed by athletes and families at the fourth MW Aquatics Games.  Well done to all the swimmers from Ballarat, Bendigo, Dandenong Valley, Echuca Campaspe, MER, MIE, Melbourne Southern, Melbourne West, Ovens Murray and Westernport. MW swimmers came home with 16 PB’s.  A good result!
Many thanks to our supporters and helpers – BPA Business Brokers for their very generous donation, My Smile Dental for their raffle prize, Franklin Printing for the programs, Gary Rodda (Starter), Neil Mitchell, Jane Monk and Danny Smith (Referees), Keith Loveridge (Announcer) and all the timekeepers, especially the support offered by friends and the other regions.  Thanks too, to Shirley Milgate (EC) for her advice and support as Chief Check Marshall, and athlete siblings, Bianca Jacovac (Chief Marshall) and Christopher Holmes and friends who kept everyone fed with the sausage sizzle.
Last but not least, thanks to the parents of Melbourne West for your many and varied contributions.  A special thanks to Josie Salvatore for the Raffle, and the King (Natalie) family for your generous donation of time and funds for the Officials Afternoon Tea.  Thank you.

Summer State Games 9th/10th April 2016

Our athletes had a tremendous time at the Victorian State Games in Bendigo. Many medals, ribbons and Personal Bests were achieved—well done everyone! Special mention to Trent and Sarah who were part of the torch run!

Melbourne West Inter-regional Athletics Games 22nd November 2015

Twenty-eight (28) athletes from 6 SOV regions competed at the recent I-R Athletics Games, with the athletes and families congratulating Brittney Neil and David Robinson (both of Westernport) for representing Australia at the World Games in LA in July.  The Melbourne West Athletics Team was awesome, with 21 PB's and 5 Maximum Efforts - "well done to all!"  Congratulations too to the organising team with comments from others ranging from: 'well organised'; 'athlete enjoyment'; 'making and maintaining friendships'.  The success of the day was due to the hard work of many people and the support of:

- all those regions, coaches, athletes, parents and family members who gave their time and support to the athletes and worked so hard

- the families outside of Athletics who came along to give their support, especially Brad and Trent (runners) and Michael L., Marisa, Ruth and Glenn

- members of Athletics Essendon and Essendon Little Athletics who took on many official roles and/or ran as unified partners.  In particular, special mention goes to Royce and Graeme who were the Starters on the day, Gwen Timms, the Announcer and Carol Timms, the Results Recorder

- MW parents who organised and managed the event-especially Josie Salvatore and Don McLaren and the wonderful coaches-Susi Strasser and Elaine McLeod and volunteers-Sarah Callinan, Natalie, Amisyn and Katie.  THANK YOU

The athletes were presented with their ribbons by Greg Bisinella, who sponsors our uniform and Mike Spears, who many know from Helping Hoops

Winter State Games - 11/12th July 2015

Tenpin:  Great result for Melbourne West over the weekend at the Tenpin Bowling State games.  MW was proudly represented by Abdullah Bakhsh, Daniel Mahoney and Daniel Vadnjal and they all faced some very enthusiastic competition in both the teams and individual events.  Medals were won by Abdullah (Gold) and Daniel V (Bronze), with Daniel M. leading the way as the team captain for the event. Daniel was a tower of strength as leader of his two younger team mates, helping them with direction and guidance which is a true credit to him as a person. Overall, it was a memorable great two days with lots of fun, team building and most of all, lots of pins being knocked over by the Melbourne West team!!  Kathryn and Frank Vadnjal

Congratulations to Danielle Williams who bowled above her average and earned a Team Silver with MER and a 6th placing in her division.

Basketball:   Saturday's schedule was full on with both teams having 2 games. Our B grade team ,was the first to hit the court and did extremely well, despite injuries and absent players. 4 Melbourne West athletes, accompanied by Prairie Maughn from Melbourne Southern, fought hard and only went down by a small margin against Ballarat. Unfortunately our second game wasn’t as close as the first. Athletes struggled with only 5 players and began to tire easily. It was a tough battle and exhausting as they ran out an entire game. Finishing the game with only 3 players on the court, due to yet another injury and some foul trouble, they played with pride and a smile regardless of the scoreboard, which was great to see.

C Graders (Kasey, Lucas, Caleb, Kirsten, Samantha, Justin, Daniel W. and Kelsey) were up for a challenge, competing against the strongest C grade team in the state. Getting better with each training session and each game, they played with great teamwork and encouraged each other from start to finish. The last game of the day was an absolute nail biter, with a nervous coach on the sidelines. Our supporters and athletes packed the court wearing the green proud and cheered on our C grade team to the final siren. The final score …17 a piece.

Sunday we welcomed Michael vW back into our B grade team and his speed was a real asset. Another close game for our B graders and we continued to improve as the game went on. Some great skills displayed by all, exceptional teamwork and some strong defence were present. Barwon with all the extra height ended up securing the win. The B grade bronze medal game was neck and neck all game, with sharp skills, great defence, and desperation for the ball shown by the mighty West. It wasn’t until the last 10 minutes when 2 athletes were fouled off that Ballarat was able to gain control. Melbourne West finished in 4th place, which was an amazing effort. I’m super proud of their development and I know with a full squad we’ll get ‘em next year!

C grade, again playing even better the second day of the tournament, came out ready to compete against Dandenong Valley in their first game of the day. Our rebounding and defence was great which gave us more opportunities to score…and we did!  Our highest scoring game for the weekend kept the cheer squad happy and loud and reflected in the athletes’ performance on court. Our final game of the day was again against the strongest side, Melbourne Inner East. We were able to cut back the margin from yesterday and showed them how good we are! Our defence was better than ever, and we really showed how well we work as a team, helping each other bring the ball up the court under serious pressure from the opposition. We finished 3rd and athletes left the stadium wearing their Bronze medals with pride. 

Congratulations to Gheorghe Boere, who played with Ballarat and came home with a Gold medal.

All in all it was a fantastic weekend, with some great basketball, lots of happy dances, sweat, blood, tears and cartwheels. As a coach, I’m super proud of how far we’ve come and how well we competed. Thanks to all parents - you are the best cheer squad and support me immensely, and finally to the athletes - you were brave in the attempt, represented Melbourne West with pride and integrity and played to your personal best and we couldn’t ask for anything more. We all had a blast and can’t wait to tackle it all again in 2016!  Lessey Hodgkinson  (Proud Coach)

Aquatics - Melbourne West Inter-regional Games 23rd May 2015

Another great afternoon of swimming was enjoyed by athletes and families at the third MW Aquatics Games.  Very well done to all the swimmers from Ballarat, Barwon, Bendigo, Dandenong Valley, MER, MIE, Melbourne Southern, Melbourne West, Ovens Murray and Westernport.  There were many comments on your enthusiasm and friendliness.  MW swimmers came home with 25 PB’s and everyone is very proud of you.  Congratulations
Many thanks to our supporters and helpers – Charles Cassar (Thermal Vision) for the purchase of an urn, Shane Tankard (Parkville Maintenance) for supplying water bottles, Glenn Doolan (Eastside Cranehire) for the generous donation, Tibaldi and Master Cuts for sausages, Franklin Printing for the programs, Gary Rodda (Starter), Margaret Arnold, Neil Mitchell, Jane Monk and Danny Smith (Referees), the timekeepers, especially the Kiwanis of Port Phillip, friends of the Kynes, VU students, Melinda, Ella and Steve, and old and new volunteers, Elaine, Sarah and Jodie, Michelle and Elle, and Bendigo parents.  Thanks too, to athlete siblings, Bianca and Erin and the Getson-Ballan family – Leanne, Nick, Jaime-Lee and Patrick who came back to lend a hand.  A special thank you to Peter and Yolanda Kozik (MIE) for their hard work on the day.
Last but not least, thanks to the parents of Melbourne West for your many and varied contributions.  It takes a lot of time and effort behind the scenes to get a swim meet off the ground including the preparation, running and dismantling on the day and you all made it happen with a minimum of fuss.  A special thanks to Josie Salvatore for the Raffle, the King (Natalie) and the Holmes (Miriam) families for your generous donation of time and funds for the Officials Afternoon Tea and the Sausage Sizzle. Thank you.

Basketball - Barwon Inter-regional Games 3rd May

Congratulations to all of our athletes.  Both our C Grade and B Grade teams placed 2nd in their respective pools - a great effort!!!!!  You should all be proud of your efforts and sportsmanship throughout the day.  Gheorghe played with Ballarat A Grade and they finished 1st place in their pool.  Thank you to Prairie Maughan from Melbourne Southern who joined our B grade team.  Thank you to Lessey and Chris for your wonderful coaching and for your time and good will.  Thank you to Vanessa and Jason who helped out with the scoring and to all the parents and carers who came down to Barwon to support the athletes.  Next training session is Sunday 17 May, 2015 from 2.00 to 3.00  at Whitten Stadium.  Belinda Tankard, Team Manager.  0425 756 376

State Games 11/12 April 2015

Melbourne West Athletes and Families enjoyed a wonderful weekend of sport and sunshine in Bendigo on the occasion of the State Games.  Andrew Bascetta represented the Region in Tennis and was very happy with his Silver in Singles, division 2; Bronze in Doubles, division 2 and 4th placing in Skills, division 2. Coaches, Elaine and Susi, and Team Manager, Josie, were very excited with the 12 PB's achieved by the 10 Athletics participants - Samanth Bradfield, Laura Butler, Sarah Dovey, Gemma Berry, Courtney Holmes, Zachary Holmes, Michael van Wilgenburg, Adrian Salvatore, Justin McLaren and Alessio Tamburro.  Total medals and ribbons were 16 Gold, 10 Silver, 11 Bronze and one 4th placing.  In the pool, 11 Aquatics participants - Natalie Birch, Alana Cassar, Miriam Holmes, Deana Horvat, Meghan Kyne, Danielle Williams, Nicholas Di Genova, Bradley Doolan, Trent Loveridge, Travis Tankard, Mitchell Zerafa achieved 16 PB's out of 43 entries and 13 placings were within 3 seconds of entered times.  Coaches and Coach Assistant, Tony, Hans, and Michael L. were delighted.  Special congratulations to Nicholas and Mitchell for their great efforts at their first State Games, with 7 PB's between them, including 4 Maximum Efforts!  Wow! Total medals were 13 gold, 17 Silver, 6 Bronze, three 4ths and two 5ths.  Well done to all athletes - 'you did our Region proud' in courage, performance and sportsmanship.  Thank you.

Melbourne West Inaugural Inter-regional Athletics Games 9th August 2014

Thankfully the rain held off and though the wind was bitter, it didn't daunt the enjoyment and passion of the 22 athletes from 6 SOV regions who took part in the first MW Athletics Inter-regional Games on Saturday 9th August.  This included 14 members of the SOV Nationals Track and Field team who pushed themselves to firm up their times for the big event in October.  Thank you to all those regions, coaches, athletes, parents and family members who gave their support to the athletes and worked so hard with many tasks on the day.  It was great to see that several families outside of Athletics came along to give their support too.  Thank you.  We also wish to acknowledge the expertise and contributions of Alicia Lands (MIE) and Ron Lovell (Barwon) - invaluable.

The region especially thanks members of Athletics Essendon, Essendon Little Athletics and Ormond College students who gave up their time to take on many official roles and/or to run as unified partners with Justin (Justin left them for dead!).  Gwen Timmins, Lou Citroen, Carol Timmins, Rowena Alsop, Doreen Giovani, Daisy Drew, Madeleine Paris, Kirstie McLeod, Hugh Matthew and Brigid O'Farell - without your valued assistance, the day would not have got off the ground.  Thank you.

The athletes were excited to be presented with their ribbons by Greg Bisinella, who sponsors our uniform, and the Honourable Bill Shorten MP, Leader of the Federal Opposition and Member for Maribyrnong.  Mr. Shorten was introduced to the SOV Nationals Track and Field team, including Head Coach, Susi Strasser.  He wished them luck for the months ahead, noting it was a fantastic achievement for the athletes, their families and their support networks.

"Their hard work and dedication have paid off and I'm pleased to be here to acknowledge their efforts," he said.

Melbourne West was fortunate to receive a grant from the Moonee Valley City Council which was a huge support in enabling us to run this event in the community, involving so many volunteers and residents.  Thank you Moonee Valley CC.

Finally, a very big thank you to all Melbourne West members who organised the event and were on their feet all day, with a special mention to: our wonderful coaches, Susi Strasser and Elaine McLeod, Josie Salvatore (Meet Director), Hans van Wilgenburg (Marshall), Helen Berry (Assistant Marshall), Don McLean (Starter).  Everyone enjoyed the free sausage sizzle - thank you to Bill Holmes and his helpers and thanks to Kelly and Stacey McLaren who worked overtime in the canteen.  Many others assisted on the day with a multitude of tasks - you know who you are and thank you for making the day memorable for Melbourne West and the participating athletes.  Can't wait to see the action shots taken by Domi Salvatore.  Look out for 2015.

Melbourne West Basketball - Winter State Games 5th-6th July 2014

Congratulations to our wonderful basketballers - what a great weekend at the State Games.  For the first time, Melbourne West entered teams in the Winter Games.  It was exciting to watch our athletes marching in the Opening Ceremony and to see them and our officials involved in the ceremony proceedings.  And didn't they look swish in their new uniforms!  Thanks to Domi for the design and to Greg Bisinella, Australian Clothing Company, for sponsoring the uniforms.

The C Grade players - Samantha Bradfield, Kasey Shortis, Chris Hansen, Justin McLaren, Caleb McCoullough, Lucas Vasilev and Travis Tankard played four (4) games - the improvement of these players was there for all to see - finishing with 4th place in their Grade.  They should be very proud of their efforts.  Congratulations to Samantha on also winning the special player award for the C Grade Pool Basketballers.

The B Grade players - Gheorghe Boere, Jaime-Lee Getson, Patrick Getson, Adrian Salvatore, Joshua Henderson and Carly Kenyeres played six (6) games, winning every game and going on to be the Gold Medallists for the B Grade (2nd Pool) 2014 - a fantastic effort.  Unfortuanately, one of our players, Andrew Ghiri injured his shoulder during the warm-up and had to withdraw.  Andrew will be back playing with us soon.

Thanks to our wonderful Coach, Lessey Hodgkinson for giving her time to our region to train all the athletes leading up to the Games and for all her great coaching and support over the weekend.  Also, a special thank you to our 'other' coach, Kirsten Shortis - what a great job you did with the C Grade during their last game and for also scoring during the games.  Thank you to Chris for scoring the games on the Sunday.

And last, but not least, thank you to the parents and families who travelled to Pakenham over the weekend - your enthusiasm, support and good will are very much appreciated.  I am sure you are all very proud of the athletes and I hope you enjoyed the experience that is "Special Olympics".  Training resumes on Sunday 17th August.  Belinda Tankard, SOV Melbourne West Basketball Coordinator.

Melbourne West Outstanding at State Games 4th-5th-6th April 2014

For Melbourne West athletes in Tennis, Athletics and Aquatics, enthusiasm, consistent training and great coaches, not to mention the effusive cheer squads and supportive parents, culminated in a wonderful two days of competition at the SOV State Games.  And the weather was magnificent.  The location of the Tennis at Hurstbridge was an extra bonus for families with the local market operating in the sunshine.

Trent Loveridge represented MW in the LETR and the committee wishes to thank all those athletes who made it to the Opening Ceremony - it's a very early start for everyone, so well done!

With 16 PB's in Athletics and 26 PB's in Aquatics, you are all to be congratulated.  And a total Region haul of 35 gold, 25 silver, 18 bronze, 11 x 4th placings, 6 x 5th placings, 3 x 6th placings is fantastic - your coaches are Soooo proud and we thank them for giving up their weekend and working so hard with their advice, encouragement, support and getting you to your events.  Thanks too, to all the parents who helped out over the weekend.  Our 27 athletes who participated at State Games are to be commended on their positive attitudes and supportive approach to their team mates and the competitors from other regions.

Melbourne West Inter-regional Aquatic Games 15 March 2014

Thank you to all the SOV Regions who attended the second MW Inter-regional Aquatics Games.  The races were exciting and all swimmers showed excellent sportsmanship and enthusiasm.  We were privileged to have Justin Madden MP open the event and both he and Belinda Hocking, 2012, 2008 Backstroke Olympian, enjoyed handing out ribbons to the swimmers.  Lots of photos were taken!  Thank you Justin and Belinda. 

Thank you to the Meet Referees, Barbara Brooks and Neil Mitchell, for your time and assistance; Grant Williams (MER) who stepped in as the Starter; our Announcer, Wayne Mortensen; all the timekeepers - Kiwanis Club of Port Phillip, Sega Group, friends and parents; MW coaches, Jes and Sara who did a sterling job as Event and Check Marshalls, keeping the event moving along promptly; the Sausage Sizzle team; the Raffle team; all the parents and friends who provided afternoon tea and equipment, who helped set up, and who took on significant duties during the event.  A great team effort. 

Thank you to the businesses who donated goods and vouchers for the raffle: AMart, Taylors Lakes; Priceline Pharmacy, Marazita Bros Delicatessen, Sports Power, Ucan Cafe, Elg and Robinson and Essensual Lingerie of Williamstown.

A very big thank you to all the sponsors who supported our region: Franklin Printing (programs); Thermal Vision Australia (stopwatches); Parkville Maintenance (bottled water); Master Cut Food Industries P/L (sausages and hamburgers); Pasta al Dente (bread); Eastside Cranehire; Absolutely Awetistic Arts; Australian Clothing Company and Victoria University.

Finally, but not least, congratulations to the Melbourne West swimmers for their eagerness and their efforts in training - 37 PB's!  Thanks to the dedication and commitment of their coaches - Jes, Sara, Matthew, Tony, Hans, Michael L, Xavier (East Keilor Leisure Centre) and Sarah (Derrimut).

Melbourne West Athletes Shine at Asia Pacific Games

The seven Melbourne West athletes selected by random draw from eligible athletes to participate at the Asia Pacific Games (Aquatics - Trent, Brad, Ben, Deana; Athletics - Michael, Justin, Gemma) brought home 19 medals between them, along with eight PB's.  A magnificent effort.  The following comment from one family sums up the experience "...( the athletes) really enjoyed the friendships developed with other athletes and the whole experience of being away with other athletes with their interest in sport. ....medals are worn with great pride.  For (family members) as supporters, it was fantastic to see such great team support for each other....(and being able) to meet the parents of the other Victorian athletes and form a great cheer squad.  Such a great experience for all involved.  The officials were particularly supportive and encouraging and fun."  Congratulations!  Check out these links on You Tube.

7 Athletes from Melbourne West Region in the Asia Pacific Games Newcastle 2013.

Memorable Moments for Melbourne West Region Special Olympics 2013 Asia Pacific Games in Newcastle

More Slam Dunks with Melbourne West

Gippsland Games | On 15 September, 2013 Travis Tankard represented Melbourne West in the Melbourne Southern team competing at the Gippsland I-R Basketball Games in Traralgon.  Travis participated with the C Grade team and they played four (4) games over the day.  Two wins - Two losses. It was a great day and the C Grade team were presented with third place for the competition.  Trav enjoyed playing and is improving with each competition and has made some good friends with his team mates from Melbourne Southern.  Why don't you join us.  Look out for the new Melbourne West Basketball squad starting soon.
Andrew, Adrian and Travis competed in the Winter State Games at Pakenham on the weekend of 6/7th July.  Travis participated in the Torch Run through Pakenham with the Victoria police.  Accompanied by heart-wrenching cheers, the Torch entered the stadium, the National Anthem was sung, all the SO oaths were made and the Games declared open.  Andrew and Tavis participated in two individual C grade teams, whilst Adrian played with the B Grade team, all participating with Melbourne Southern teams.  The boys played six (6) games over the two days with great sportmansship in very close games and really enjoyed the competition and made some new friends along the way.  On Sunday at the Closing Ceremony, medals were presented and Adrian's team won Gold, Andrew's silver and Travis' bronze.  Great effort!  Thanks to Melbourne Southern for making everyone welcome and part of the team.

Melbourne West Basketball May and June 2013

On Sunday 26th May, 2013, three (3) Melbourne West Athletes, Adrian, Andrew G., and Travis participated in the Melbourne Southern Inter-Regional Basketball Games in Bonbeach.  The boys played in a C Grade team made up of Melbourne Southern, Westernport and Melbourne West athletes.  They were "The Wildcats".  Four (4) games were played during the day, with two wins, one draw (on the buzzer!) and a loss, to finish off the day with a third place in C Grade.  It was a great effort considering it was their first competition as a team and each game was played with great enthusiasm, team work and good sportsmanship. 

Adrian, Andrew and Travis will participate in the MER Inter-Regional Basketball Games on 25 June and the State Games at Pakenham on the weekend of 6/7 July.  Adrian will be in a B Grade Competition and Andrew and Travis in a C Grade competition. 

Thank you to Melbourne Southern basketball athletes, coaches and organisers for making our athletes sooo welcome.  Melbourne West basketballers train with Helping Hoops on a Tuesday night from 5-6pm.  Taking part in competitions gives our basketballers an opportunity to try out the skills learnt and we welcome others to join our team.  Contact Belinda - 0425 756 376

Melbourne West Inaugural Inter-Regional Aquatics Games

On the 4th May 2013, Melbourne West held its first Inter-Regional competition - aquatics games.  And we are rightly proud of this effort.  In spite of a few hiccups, we have had wonderful feedback from regions, athletes and SOV and we thank everyone for their support - our athletes and their families, the regions and their athletes who entered our competition, volunteers from the regions, friends and family members who assisted with the many tasks essential to the meets success. 

We would especially like to thank the representatives from NAB who helped with timekeeping and those who sponsored us - Victoria University, Franklin Web (printing our program), Charles Cassar - Thermal Vision Australia, Shane Tankard - Parkville Maintenance and the Australian Clothing Company

And our own athletes did especially well on their home turf - 16 PB's out of 52 entries along with 25 results which were within less than one second to no more than 3 seconds over entered times.  That's a total of 41 events out of 52 in which MW swimmers showed an improvement or near to best times. Awesome! The region now feels it is a real contributor to the aims of Special Olympics and its athletes.

Fundraising Dance

On the 14th September 2012, Melbourne West held a very successful dance to raise funds for athletes attending the Trans Tasman Tournament and the Junior Nationals.  It was a great opportunity for families and especially athletes to get to know each other and enjoy the moves on the dance floor.  Many thanks to Josie for coordinating the evening and to Greg for the great music.  Thanks to the parents, friends, coaches who supported this event and thanks to those many, many families, our coaches and all friends for their great donations, including lots of the prizes.  And a very big thanks to our sponsors for their generous donations and prizes - Plancorp Building Services, Makcorp Property Group, Western Distributors Rugs and Timber Flooring, Trusses Plus, Hoyts Cinemas, Phillip Island National Parks, Adventure Park Geelong and Taco Bill.

Melbourne West Basketball 2012

On 1st July 2012 (the coldest day this year) a group of 12 Helping Hoops basketballers made up of four (4) Melbourne West athletes, Adrian Salvatore, Andrew Ghiri, Adrian Johnson and Travis Tankard, together with a group of eight (8) Melbourne North athletes, travelled down to Bonbeach to compete in the Melbourne Southern Inter-Regional Basketball Games.

For some players, it was their first basketball competition and everyone was very excited and eager to get onto the Court.

Read More ...

Michael Excels As A Leader

Michael Van Wilgenburg, a 16 year old of Melbourne West region has rapidly shown his desire and longing to succeed. Only being an SOV athlete for just over 12 months, Michael regularly competes in athletics. In particular, the 100 and 200 metre sprints. Michael has also been swimming over in Maribyrnong for last few months. “Even though I swim, running is still my favourite.”

Not only is he an accomplished SOV athlete, Michael was also selected by his region to be a member of the Athlete Leadership Program.

Learn more about Michael's achievements and his role as an athlete leader.

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