BALLARAT Special Olympians have been busy fundraising in sausage sizzles, via social media and community drives to reach the international stage.
They have almost reached their goal.
Benjamin Williams (tenpin bowling), David Hamilton (tenpin bowling), Fran Wellard (basketball) and Josh Kennedy (swimming) have each qualified for the inaugural Special Olympics Asia Pacific Games in December.
Newcastle will host the Games, with more than 2000 athletes from 32 countries ready for competition.
Ballarat athletes’ selections were confirmed with a letter from Governor-General Quentin Bryce, the Special Olympics Australia patron.
Kennedy’s father Charles said his son was very excited about having fun and meeting people.
Each athlete has trained hard each week to qualify and prepare for their chosen discipline.
Selection is based on gold medals and performance at state level.
Athletes also contest regional competitions – basketball regionals were in May and tenpin bowling was in August.
Swimming regionals are fast approaching, and Kennedy, who has been working to improve his time, can use the meet as a handy preparation.
A 400-strong Australian team will enter a training camp in late November that will include their uniform presentation ceremony.
The Games will be the largest multi-sports event for athletes with intellectual disability held in Australia.
Australian athletes have been working hard to raise the $2900 they need to compete at the Games.
Aquatics, athletics, badminton, basketball, bocce, cricket, football, table tennis and tenpin bowling are all on the Games program.
The Games will run from November 30 to December 7.