Mayor calls on community to embrace athletes

Published on 15 September 2022


Following a heavily interrupted preparation courtesy of the COVID pandemic, the 2022 Special Olympics Australia National Games is back on track with hundreds of athletes preparing to descend upon Launceston next month.

More than 750 athletes will be competing alongside hundreds of support staff, coaches and event organisers from October 17 to 22 in what promises to be one of best National Games in the event's near 40-year history.

Athletes will compete across nine sporting disciplines over five action-packed days of competition at a number of venues across the north of the state, including the St Leonards Athletics Track, Launceston Leisure and Aquatic Centre, Elphin Sports Centre, the Silverdome and UTAS Stadium.

Launceston holds a special place in the memories for many former Special Olympics athletes - Tasmania was the first Australian state to host the Special Olympics National Games back in 1986.

Mayor Albert van Zetten said Launceston had always been a city that embraces diversity and he encouraged all Tasmanians to support these athletes and their families and supporters.

"It is absolutely tremendous that Launceston was chosen to host the 2022 Special Olympics National Games and I have no doubt that the entire City will open its heart to the athletes and their families," Mayor van Zetten said.

"It is important that as a society we can break down the barriers for people with an intellectual disability."

This week, Special Olympics Australia put out a call for locals to join the cause and become a Games volunteer - otherwise known as a Game Changer.

"Our 'Game Changers' play a critical role in providing an outstanding experience for the athletes, families, and spectators," Special Olympics Australia chief executive officer Pierre Comis said.

"As a Game Changer, you can take on a range of diverse roles in the lead-up to and during the National Games.

"From administration to events, logistics, and sport-specific roles, you'll give your time, talent, and commitment to help provide the best experience for Special Olympics athletes."

Mayor van Zetten said that by becoming a Game Changer, prospective volunteers will help improve the lives of people with an intellectual disability.

"There has always been a true passion for sport and inclusion in Launceston," Mayor van Zetten said.

"And as they have proven on many occasions in the past, I'm confident that the people of Northern Tasmania will rally to this wonderful cause and volunteer their time, their skills, passion and experience," he said.

To become a 'Game Changer', you will need to be enthusiastic, energetic and full of fun - as well as being at least 16 years of age by October and be able to undertake a range of mandatory training and orientation requirements.

Anyone interested in volunteering their time for the Special Olympics by phoning 0499 838 224 or by email at

For more information, go to

Registrations close on Friday, September 30.


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