The numbers said it all – over 2000 medals and ribbons for these sporting champions.  But it was not the medal tally that really counted at the Special Olympics Asia Pacific Games held in Newcastle from December 3-7. It was the awareness the Games brought to the broader market that was the biggest factor in its success, said games director, Chris Heverin.

“It was all about participation with competitors competing at their own ability. Response from all countries was overwhelmingly positive, particularly to the quality of the event.” And would he change anything? No but the host nation puts its individual stamp on the Games.

There were over 440 sporting events and 2500 althletes at the Games, the largest event to be held in regional Australia in 2013.

The next Special Olympics will be held in 2017 with the tender bid process already in place and the winning nation to be announced in 2014.

Picture: Sundance Newcastle: Danny James