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The Countdown is on!

7 April 2018 | The countdown to the 2018 National Games is officially underway after an event in the heart of Adelaide at Rundle Mall today.

Games supporter Coles led the celebrations by conducting a mini-Olympics event featuring Special Olympics Australia athletes and Games ambassadors, Olympians Sally Hunter and Brett Maher. They also presented a cheque for $50,000 to Games Chairman Jehad Rasheed.

The Flame of Hope made an appearance, with South Australian law enforcement officers and athletes conducting a torch run and lighting the cauldron the symbolise the beginning of the final leg of the Law Enforcement Torch Run, which will run for the next week throughout South Australia.

We are now just over a week away from the Games and the excitment is building all over Adelaide! We can't wait to welcome you!

Damien selected to light Games cauldron

28 March 2018 | Special Olympics South Australia athlete Damien Braun has been selected to light the cauldron at the Opening Ceremony of the National Games!

Damien has been involved in Special Olympics training and competition for over 20 years in his chosen sports of swimming and sailing. He is a veteran of competition, representing South Australia at five National Games since 1998.

As a Special Olympics Athlete Leader, Damien has roles as a volunteer and public speaker at fundraising and public events. He has also been a qualified coach since 2016.

Damien (centre) is pictured with Law Enforcement Torch Run - South Australia's Michael Klose (left) and Games Chairman Jehad Rasheed (right).

Prime Minister welcomes National Games athletes

9 March 2018 | Today at Kirribilli House, the Prime Minister of Australia, the Honourable Malcom Turnbull, hosted a reception in honour of National Games athletes.

The reception saw 200 Special Olympics Australia National Games athletes, carers and volunteers from around the country gather at the Prime Minister’s residence where the Prime Minister recognised their hard work and dedication to their sports.

The event was full of joy and it was a truly proud moment for athletes, families and volunteers to be there to hear the Prime Minister’s inspiring words of recognition of our amazing athletes and volunteers.

Click here for photos from the function.

Welcome Coles as Games Partner

7 March 2018 | Coles has announced it will partner with Special Olympics Australia to support the National Games in Adelaide this April.

“We are very proud to sponsor the Special Olympics National Games for the first time this year as part of our commitment to encourage greater inclusion in our communities and help young people to lead active, healthy lifestyles," Coles State General Manager Sophie Wong said.

"We congratulate all the athletes on their involvement in the Special Olympics National Games and know they will inspire so many Australians when they compete in Adelaide in April.”

Thanks Coles for supporting the athletes of the 2018 Special Olympics Australia National Games!

Australia Post to support National Games athletes

28 February 2018 | Special Olympics Australia is delighted to welcome Australia Post as one of our Major Sponsors for this year’s National Games. Australia Post will be providing a $100,000 grant to assist all Special Olympic athletes with their travel to Adelaide.

Australia Post General Manager of Marketing & Community Andrea Pearman said the organisation recognises that sport is a powerful tool which plays an important role in building connections amongst people from different walks of life.

“Australia Post is committed to contributing to more inclusive communities, where everyone feels they belong, are valued and respected, regardless of background or ability. The Special Olympics is a wonderful opportunity to bring these individuals and communities together.”

Australia Post is a strong advocate for diversity and inclusion. Their workforce of 37,000 people is made up of 163 different ethnic backgrounds, who speak more than 65 languages, and six per cent of their workforce has a disability. 

OTR welcomed as Transport Partner

26 February 2018 | Special Olympics Australia is delighted to welcome OTR as our Transport Partner for this year’s National Games. They will be supporting athletes and officials to fuel their vehicles as they travel to each event.

OTR is SA owned and operated and is one of the State’s most innovative and leading convenience retailers with 139 Petrol and Convenience stores across metropolitan and rural South Australia. The parent company, Peregrine Corporation, is the state’s largest private employer employing over 3850 South Australians.

Joann Skene OTR Community Manager said, “We are extremely excited to support Special Olympics Australia and bring the 2018 National Games to Adelaide.”

“Seeing young athletes compete in a positive team environment is a wonderful opportunity and reflects the commitment of OTR to diversity and inclusion. We have a number of employees with intellectual disabilities who work in our OTR stores and head office, some have been with us for more than 10 years”, said Joann.

The OTR partnership provides things like; discount offers on fuel and OTR food items and free Krispy Kreme Doughnut for athletes and their families through to rental vehicles and fuel vouchers for staff and officials. OTR will also run a fundraising drive through key outlets to raise valuable funds.

NAB to be National Games Presenting Partner

8 December 2017 | Special Olympics Australia is extremely proud to announce that NAB has been named as the presenting partner for the 2018 Special Olympics National Games.

NAB has expanded its support of diverse and inclusive communities through the partnership with Special Olympics Australia and will play a key role at the National Games, which will see more than 1,000 athletes with an intellectual disability travel from around Australia to compete in Adelaide from 16-20 April 2018 across a range of 11 sporting disciplines. 

NAB Chief Executive Officer Andrew Thorburn said the bank is committed to creating an inclusive society that enables people with disabilities to realise their full potential.

“We’re proud to be working with the Special Olympics Australia to be at the forefront of this unique movement that celebrates social inclusion, inspiration and acceptance in all the lives it touches,” Mr Thorburn said.

“The partnership gives us a unique opportunity to change the conversation and attitudes towards acceptance and social inclusion in Australia, which is important to our customers, our staff and the communities in which we operate.

“We are looking forward to getting our staff involved in the event as we seek to double the number of volunteer days our people contribute each year,” Mr Thorburn said.

The 2018 event will be the 11th National Games and will act as the selection event for Team Australia at the next Special Olympics World Summer Games in 2019 to be hosted in Abu Dhabi.

Special Olympics Australia CEO Corene Strauss said the National Games, held every four years, is more than just a competition, it is a chance to challenge attitudes, educate and foster wider acceptance in the community about intellectual disability.

“To have one of Australia’s biggest brands, the National Australia Bank, partner with Special Olympics Australia to not only champion the achievements of our brave athletes but also back us in our drive to get Australians to embrace and support the wider cause of intellectual disability is extraordinary for our movement,” Special Olympics Australia CEO Corene Strauss said.

“We’re extremely thankful to NAB and look forward to having them alongside us on our journey to the National Games in April.”

We look forward to working together with NAB in the lead up to, and throughout, the Special Olympics National Games to celebrate our athletes and their achievements, and make inclusivity and diversity a focus in Australia.

South Australia leads the charge in Special Olympics Australia National Games 2018 Team Announcements

12 September 2017 | Last week saw the first of the State teams to be announced for the Special Olympics Australia National Games 2018.

Ninety South Australian athletes were selected to represent their home state across 11 sports and 1 demonstration sport, in the 11th National Games which will be held in from 16-20 April 2018 in Adelaide. 

For local South Australian athletes Josh Morpeth and Paul Leikas, the occasion was extra special as they were presented with their offer letters by cycling legend Stuart O'Grady and Charles Sturt Mayor Angela Evans.

The South Australian athletes will join more than 1,000 competitors from across the country to take part in the National Games, with teams from New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania to also be announced shortly. 

All competing athletes will be vying for their spot to on the Australian team that will head to Abu Dhabi for the Special Olympics World Summer Games in 2019.

You can support an athlete to get to the Games. Click here to make a tax-deductible donation.

Adlab announced as the official graphic designer for 2018 National Games

24 May 2017 | Adlab has jumped on board as sponsor of graphic design services of the 2018 National Games, to be held in 11 months’ time.

The Adelaide-based advertising, design and production agency is the brain child of Ashley and Kate Evans, and has provided services across Australia and overseas for more than 30 years.

National Games Chairman, Jehad Rasheed, said he was looking forward to seeing Adlab’s creative ideas for the 2018 National Games come to fruition.

“Adlab are renowned for their work in the industry, having received many accolades including the 2016 CCA Partner of the Year – Supply Continuity award,” said Mr Rasheed.

“We are very thankful to Ashley, Kate and the team for providing all graphic design work pro-bono, and are very excited to see what they’ve got in store for the Games.”

Adlab co-founder, Ashley Evans, said the team couldn’t wait to get started on the production of materials for the sporting event.

“What an opportunity! We are honoured to join forces with Special Olympics Australia and to start working on several key graphic design initiatives, which will include rolling out the design and layout of the official Games program and certificates.” said Mr Evans.

Photo: Ashley Evans, Owner of Adlab (left), with Jehad Rasheed, Chairman National Games 2018 (right) during the announcement of the partnership.

Orana announced as Families and Supporters Partner for 2018 National Games

9 May 2017 | Special Olympics Australia has today announced Orana will be the Families and Supporters Partner for the 2018 National Games, taking place in Adelaide (16 – 20 April 2018).

Orana Chief Executive Officer Nicholas Mihalaras said Orana hoped the partnership with Special Olympics would help both organisations better support people with disability and their families.

“Orana has enjoyed a long partnership with Special Olympics South Australia, with our history together spanning more than eight years,” said Mr Mihalaras.

“It’s such a special organisation which provides support and confidence to many of our clients and their families. So as soon as I heard the Games were coming to SA, I said, ‘we’re in’.”

“We are also passionate about getting to know more people, in South Australia and around the country, to help provide any support and assistance we can ahead of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) coming to adults in July 2017.”

“Many families say we are an extension of their own, and this is something we are very proud to hear. I look forward to catching up with old friends, and making new ones at the Games next year.”

Special Olympics Australia National Games Chairman Jehad Rasheed said they were honoured to extend the existing relationship with Orana, who have sponsored the Community SportsLink program for years.

“We are very fortunate to have had the ongoing support of Orana, and look forward to working closely with the team in the lead up to the Games,” said Mr Rasheed

“Without the financial assistance of organisations like Orana, we would not be able to host the Games and bring so much joy, confidence and opportunity to athletes from around the country.”

Photo: Nick Mihalaras, CEO Orana Incorporated (left), Jehad Rasheed, Chairman 2018 National Games (right).

About Orana

Orana provides employment, training, housing, respite and life skills support to South Australians with disability. The organisation provides people with disability the chance to live and work as part of their community as independently as possible and become valued and productive community members. For more information, please visit

Kevin Scarce announced as Patron of National Games

18 April 2017 | Special Olympics Australia is pleased to announce the appointment of Kevin Scarce as Games Patron for the National Games, taking place 16 – 18 April 2018 in Adelaide, South Australia.

Born in South Australia, Mr Scarce has provided a powerful legacy to the State having served as the Governor of South Australia from 2007 – 2014. During this period, he was the Patron of Special Olympics South Australia and invited athletes and their families to Government House and attended many other events.

“I enjoyed developing a rapport with many of the South Australian athletes in this period who we saw frequently. Seeing how much pleasure they got from the competition, and watching them develop over the years as they travelled interstate and overseas to participate was simply wonderful,” said Mr Scarce.

As Patron for the 2018 National Games, Mr Scarce will work to engage new and existing partners with the National Games and help raise awareness, funds and community support for the upcoming event.

“The National Games give our athletes enormous pleasure and self-confidence, and just seeing them participate is something that is worthy of us all supporting,” continued Mr Scarce.

“When I was asked to be Patron for the 2018 National Games, I was delighted to assist. In this role, I hope that we can generate publicity and financial support to ensure the Games are successful and that our athletes reach their full potential.”

Mr Scarce was the youngest South-Australian-born governor and the first Royal Australian Navy Officer appointed to the position, and has since remained a significant philanthropic and business leader.

He is now the Chairman of the Cancer Council in South Australia, helping support the organisation’s fundraising, research, education and services. Scarce is also the President of the Novita Children’s Services, an ambassador for Impact 100 (a sub fund for the Australian Communities Foundation) and an Operation Flinders board member.

Jehad Rasheed, Special Olympics Australia National Games Chairman, said the organising committee were thrilled to announce Mr Scarce’s appointment as Patron for the 2018 National Games.

Special Olympics Australia’s 11th National Games will take place 16 – 20 April, 2018.

Special Olympics Australia announces Chairman for 2018 National Games

7 February 2017 | Special Olympics Australia has announced Jehad Rasheed as its Chairman for the Special Olympics Australia National Games, to be held in April 2018.

Since 2009, Mr Rasheed has been a powerful advocate for Special Olympics Australia. He joined the Board of Special Olympics South Australia in 2010, has personally raised $40,000 to celebrate the organisation’s 40th anniversary and provided merchandise and onsite support for thousands of athletes, families and volunteers attending the 2010 National Games.

 “I remember turning up to the Games back in 2010 to deliver the games promotional merchandise. I was only meant to stay for half an hour, but I ended up pitching in and staying for four days. During the game, Chris Lemm asked me if I was interested in joining the Board – and the rest is history,” said Mr Rasheed.

Together with his wife Sarah, Mr Rasheed provides an annual scholarship program to assist athletes from lower socioeconomic backgrounds participate in Special Olympics’ year-round competition. Six outstanding South Australia athletes have already benefited from the scholarship program.

Outside of Special Olympics Australia, Mr Rasheed is a keen coach & spectator of football, golf, soccer and tennis. He has worked as a coach with the Norwood Football Club’s U17 along with mentoring players at the Port Adelaide Football Club. He also brings more than 20 years’ experience business acumen, having run his own promotional marketing business and worked as a Sales Manager for blue chip companies Corporate Express Promotional Marketing and Sara Lee Household & Body Care.

“Over the past eight years, I have fallen in love with Special Olympics Australia – it is an organisation that grounds me as a person and it is a cause that has captured my heart. I am truly honoured to become the Chairman of the 2018 National Games and hope to do the job justice in the coming 14 months.”

Mr Rasheed also praised the National Games event for giving athletes the opportunity to achieve their personal best, build lifetime friendships and develop personal skill for the future.

“I am looking forward to supporting Bredette Koen and her National Games team to create the most memorable event to date, especially as it will be held in my home town of Adelaide, South Australia.”

Chief Executive Officer of Special Olympics Australia Corene Strauss welcomed the appointment of Mr Rasheed to the 2018 National Games.

“We are delighted with Jehad’s appointment as Chairman of the Special Olympics 2018 National Games. His love of sport, passion for our athletes and close ties to the South Australian community makes him the perfect choice. He understands why we exist as an organisation, and how the Games are just one opportunity for our athletes to build confidence and friendships that will set them up for a lifetime,” said Ms Strauss.

As Chairman, Mr Rasheed will oversee National Games Board of 10-12 members and provide support to the National Games team as they head to Adelaide in 2018.

Special Olympics Australia’s 11th National Games will take place 16 – 20 April, 2018. For more information, please contact Games Director, Bredette Koen on

Pictured: Special Olympics Australia 2018 National Games new Chairman Jehad Rasheed with two athletes, Charlie Wilkins and Ben Paior. Mr Rasheed first met the pair in 2009, and has watched them grow and develop over the past eight years.