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News posted on Friday 30th September, 2022

New Zealand to send 15-strong delegation to inaugural Virtus Oceania Asia Games 2022

Key points:

  • 15 New Zealanders will compete at the inaugural Virtus Oceania Asia Games 2022.
  • The Virtus Oceania Asia Games will take place 5-11 November 2022 in Brisbane.
  • Virtus is the International Federation for athletes with intellectual impairment.
  • Running in parallel with the Virtus Oceania Asia Games, the Para Sailing World and International Championships for athletes with Intellectual Impairment will be hosted at Southport, Gold Coast.
  • 13 New Zealand athletes will compete in swimming, 1 in athletics, and 1 in sailing.

Paralympics New Zealand (PNZ) has appointed Helen Brookes to the voluntary role of Head of Delegation (HOD) for the upcoming Virtus Oceania Asia Games 2022 to be held in Brisbane from 5-12 November. Helen brings a wealth of experience through her involvement with Special Olympics for over 15 years, mainly in coaching and sports co-ordination roles. Helen has attended two World Summer Games with Special Olympics New Zealand and will bring this experience at a multi-sport event to the role of HOD.

“It is an absolute honour to be appointed to the role of Head of Delegation for the upcoming Virtus Oceania Asia Games 2022. I am thrilled to continue my involvement with athletes with an intellectual impairment and bring to the role my passion to support athletes, support staff and Whānau.”

Helen Brookes, Head of Delegation

New Zealand has named its delegation to the Virtus Oceania Asia Games 2022, comprising 15 athletes. The full New Zealand delegation comprises:


  • David Beck
  • Jack Bugler
  • Bailey Conlon
  • Lance Dustow
  • James Haydon
  • Helen Mackay
  • Tate Pichon
  • Finn Russ
  • Rylee Sayer
  • Asher Smith-Franklin
  • Cuda Tawhai-Hamilton
  • Luka Willems
  • Denver Xavier


  • Josh Lush


  • Caleb Evans

Swimming New Zealand’s Disability and Para Swimming Participation Manager, Cameron Leslie, will travel with the team. Paralympian #164 Cameron Leslie is excited to see what the inaugural Oceania Asia Games will deliver for the athletes.

“We have a number of talented swimmers with an intellectual impairment coming through the pathway. We are hoping to use Virtus events as a space for them to develop alongside their peers in a bespoke environment. Until now, we haven’t been able to offer such a positive pathway through to international sport. The team are really excited for the Games in Brisbane and can’t wait to try their best and do their Whānau, club, coaches and country proud.”

Cameron Leslie

What is Virtus?

Virtus is the International Federation for athletes with intellectual impairment. Intellectual impairment is an umbrella term for a range of cognitive and developmental conditions. Within Virtus competitions, there are three eligible groups:

  • II1 (Intellectual impairment)
  • II2 (Significant intellectual impairment)
  • II3 (Autism)

Paralympics New Zealand is the affiliated national member organisation for Virtus in New Zealand, overseeing the eligibility of athletes with intellectual impairment for Virtus sports and promoting Virtus pathways.

There is an overlap of the Virtus eligible groups and eligible Para sport classifications in the Paralympic Games. Athletes in the II1 category in Virtus sport may be eligible to compete in Para sport at the Paralympic Games in Para athletics, Para swimming, Para table tennis and Para taekwondo.

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