by Paul and Julie Roberts
Owen has had a big year in sports.
He came back on the weekend having been away for a week competing for Team Vic in Athletics. He was one of over 700 athletes from around Australia competing in various sports at the Special Olympics National Games. The games are held every four years and this year it was in Launceston.
Owen competed as one of the elite M1 group in the 800 metre run where he came 5th, and thereby being the 5th fastest in Australia for that distance. He scored bronzes in the 200m and the 4 x 200m relay and a silver in the 400m. While he was at it he scored a few PBs.
The event is well supported, with the Launceston City Council and the Tasmanian State Government hosting the event this time around. The Special Olympics started with an Opening Ceremony opened by Bill Shorten, minister for the NDIS. The games were officially closed by the Governor General.
Owen’s sporting achievements weren’t only in athletics. In August he represented Kew High School in Alpine Slalom skiing at the Interschools skiing competition held each year at Mt. Buller.
He held the banner high at the Opening Ceremony and was proud to have the KHS flag there amongst all the other school flags beside the course. He scored a silver. We couldn’t get him to the Nationals in Perisher NSW, even though he qualified by virtue of his efforts at Mt. Buller.
Student Spotlight: Owen Roberts
by Stuart Crawford
This year is Owen’s last year at Kew after being a valued member of the school community for a number of years. He’s personally raised large sums of money through his efforts in The World’s Greatest Shave, performed in this year’s school musical, as well as flying the flag proudly for Kew High in a number of elite sporting meets all around Australia. This year he was a proud member of Team Victoria, taking part in the National Special Olympic Games in Launceston. I sat down with Owen earlier this term and had a conversation regarding his successes on the sporting field. Here are the best bits!
CRAWFORD: Hi Owen. Thanks for talking to also me today. You’ve had a big year this year. Not just because you’re in Year 12 but because you’ve taken part in a number of sporting events
OWEN: Yep, that’s right
CRAWFORD: Let’s talk about these medals. There are a number of them around your neck. In fact, there are so many I think I heard you walking down the hall before I saw you! Can I ask about them? These are national medals, right?
OWEN: Yep, correct. Competing against all the people in Australia. Lots of good runners.
CRAWFORD: What did you get them for?
OWEN: Fifth, 800 metres. Two Bronze. One for 400 metres and one for relay.
CRAWFORD: Let’s talk about the big silver one. What did you win that for?
OWEN: 200 metres (Owen raises his eyebrows repeatedly at this point)
CRAWFORD: Impressive. But I also believe that you won another silver. But it wasn’t on the track it was up on a mountain?
OWEN: Ah yes mountains. Skiing. In 2017, 2018, 2019 and in 2022. Mt Buller.
CRAWFORD: You’ve been competing in the school comps for a number of years with great success. I believe you have been skiing from a young age.
CRAWFORD: Three years old? Wow. No wonder you got another silver this year for the Slalom! What do you prefer the snow or the track?
OWEN: Track. You hear people screaming ‘Go Owen run!’
CRAWFORD: Well I think that might be one of the secrets to your success, you have a very supportive family who have worked with you to achieve your best over the years. That brings me to my next question. What sports apart from skiing did you play when you were younger?
OWEN: Ah yes. Bellevue Primary. Kick a footy at the MCG. So many crowds
CRAWFORD: The MCG! You played Auskick, right? (Owen nods) No wonder you like the roar of the crowds! You’ve obviously had a hand in a number of sports. What is your favourite sport to watch?
OWEN: I like AFL
CRAWFORD: Who is a sports person that inspires you? Is it an AFL player or someone from another code?
OWEN: Usain Bolt. Fastest man alive! (Owen replicates Usain’s victory gesture)
CRAWFORD: Perhaps you have a bit in common with Usain. It’s hard to progress in a sport without training hard. What is your training regime like?
OWEN: Ah yes, training. A personal trainer. Running, I do pushups, 100 push ups
CRAWFORD: One hundred? I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who wish they could do that! Anything else?
OWEN: I crack the neck (he demonstrates)
CRAWFORD: (Laughs) I like a little theatrics on the sporting field. But I honestly think that the training is another one of your little secrets that has contributed to your success. Do you think it makes a difference?
OWEN: Yep, more confident.
CRAWFORD: Let’s get back to the nationals to finish up. It’s my understanding that your achievements are pretty special.
OWEN: Ah yeah
CRAWFORD: I believe that it is very unusual for a downs syndrome runner to achieve the ranking and times that you have. In fact, you are one of the best on record for your age group.
CRAWFORD: That’s pretty amazing. Something you should be really proud of. I have to ask you – what do you believe is the reason for this? What is your secret?
OWEN: (Smiling) Oddball
OWEN: Lots of eggs. Eggs on toast for breakfast
CRAWFORD: (Laughing) Eggs, supportive family and training. What a recipe! Thanks for taking the time to speak to me Owen, it’s been a pleasure. Best of luck for your future endeavours.
OWEN: Thank you!