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Wilson takes stock of trip of a lifetime to Abu Dhabi

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wilson Stock’s first trip overseas will be a memorable one.

The 32-year-old old, a member of Te Rauparaha Arena’s event team in Porirua, will join 63 other New Zealand athletes at the Special Olympics World Summer Games in the United Arab Emirates.

The Games run from 14-21 March, but there is an acclimatisation period first, so Wilson, along with other Special Olympics Mana and New Zealand team members Damian Johanson and Nicole Van Der Walt, hop on a plane on Monday (4 March).

For Wilson, who will co-captain the New Zealand Special Olympics basketball team in Abu Dhabi, playing the sport he loves is just one part of the opportunity in front of him.

"I’m so excited to be getting on that plane," he said.

"I’ve been to Christchurch and Dunedin before, but never out of the country. This could be life-changing for me, I can’t wait to meet so many new people."

More than 7000 athletes from 170 countries are expected in Abu Dhabi, the first time the event will be held in the Middle East.

As the Games are being held earlier in the year, due to the region’s climate, it meant Wilson and his team-mates had to adhere to a training regime over the summer holidays.

He said other Arena staff have been fantastic at helping him meet his training targets, that include time in the gym and on the basketball court.

His coach, and the New Zealand basketball coach in Abu Dhabi, Helen Brookes, said a fun Games village and off-the-court opportunities will make the Games truly memorable.

There will be a day at Ferrari World - the Ferrai-branded amusement park, with its rides and attractions that include the world’s fastest rollercoaster - and a desert experience, which has participants riding camels.

"It will an incredible time for everyone," Brookes said.

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