SONZ Sports


Athletes can train and compete in 13 Olympic-type sports.


You can take part in as many sports as you like. We welcome you to give it a go and discover what sports you're interested in. Many of our athletes love to do multiple sports. 

Training takes place year round, so you can get involved any time! 

Alpine Skiing 

Alpine Skiing is a demanding sport, athletes require endurance and strength.  Athletes can compete in three events: Super G, Slalom and Giant Slalom. Competition is offered at three levels: novice, intermediate and advanced.


Athletics covers a wide range of track and field events. Track competitions and distances range from 25 metres to 10,000 metres, with hurdles, relays, and sprints offered. Field events include long jump, ball throws, shot-put, and mini-javelin.


Basketball works on building skills from handling the ball, dribbling, passing, shooting, and developing game strategies. Offering training and competition for athletes of all abilities and ages.


Bocce is an Italian game. The goal is to roll a bocce ball closest to the target ball, the pallina. Athletes can compete in singles, doubles and team events.

Bowling (tenpin bowling) 

Ten-pin Bowling involves the player bowling a ball down a lane with the objective of knocking down as many pins as possible to score points. Bowling is able to fill the needs of many athletes because it is a simple game, can be played singularly, in doubles, or teams.


Equestrian training and competition include a number of different levels and events based on the ability of the athlete. Depending on the facilities and rider ability, there are many events including dressage, equitation, obstacle trails, gymkhana events and prix caprilli.

Football (soccer) 

Football offers 5-a-side and 7-a-side mixed football games, players use their feet to kick a ball into goals against another team. Skills include passing, dribbling, and shooting are important for game play.


Golf is an individual sport, in which competing players use a variety of clubs to hit balls into a series of holes using the fewest number of strokes, typically on courses of either 9 or 18 holes. There are multiple (1-5) levels of golf competition offered to suit a range of players and abilities.

Indoor bowls 

Indoor Bowls athletes can compete in singles, doubles, triples and team events. Opposing players or teams play on a matting surface and use wooden bowls biased by shaping them in a similar manner to lawn bowls.


Powerlifting events are individual events, every athlete aims to lift more weights than their opponent Depending on ability and facilities there are a range of events offered such as; Squat, Bench press, Deadlift, and Combinations (bench press and deadlift or bench press, deadlift and squat).


Snowboarding is a sport that involves descending a slope on a board with mounted bindings. Athletes can compete in three events; Super G, Slalom, and Giant Slalom. Competition is offered at three levels: novice, intermediate and advanced.


Swimming is a life skill that is taught, first, to ensure safety and, secondly, for sports and competition purposes. Swimming covers a great variety of swimming styles; freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly, from short sprints to longer events and relays.

Table tennis 

Table Tennis is a fast sport that requires excellent coordination of hands and eyes. ​Every athlete aims in passing the ball to the opponent side of the table over the net, striking it with a table tennis racquet.

Special Olympics Unified Sports® Programme 


Special Olympics Unified Sports® is an inclusive sports programme that combines an approximately equal number of Special Olympics athletes (individuals with intellectual disabilities) and individuals without intellectual disabilities on teams for training and competition.

About 1.4 million people of all ages worldwide take part in Unified Sports — breaking down stereotypes around people with intellectual disabilities in a really fun way.

Athletes feel a sense of belonging when participating in Unified Sports. They can meaningfully interact with others, develop mutually rewarding relationships, be recognised as contributors, and be received with acceptance and respect.

Special Olympics New Zealand has a number of athletes who train and compete with mainstream clubs as well as Special Olympics New Zealand clubs (primarily in basketball, athletics and swimming).


Our Young Athletes Programme is aimed at young children and is also part of our Special Olympics Unified Sports® Programme.


The Unified Sports creates more opportunities for athletes to train and compete alongside people who don’t have an intellectual disability.

Contact your local Special Olympics New Zealand club to get involved in Unified Sports!

Postal address:

PO Box 38344, Wellington Mail Centre, Lower Hutt 5045

Physical address:

Pelorus Trust Sports House, 93 Hutt Park Road, Seaview, Lower Hutt 5010

Telephone: +64 4 560 0360

Fax: +64 4 560 0040


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© 2020 by Special Olympics New Zealand