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Games spirit shines through

13 Mar 06 03:40
 Sierra Leone athlete receives athletics apparel from the City of Whitehorse.

Sierra Leone athlete receives
athletics apparel from the City
of Whitehorse.

The Melbourne municipality of the City of Whitehorse along with local businesses and community members has donated $25,000 worth of elite sporting equipment and uniforms to Sierra Leone athletes for the Games.

The Sierra Leone team was presented with their new uniforms and sporting equipment for the Games at a welcome lunch hosted by Mount Scopus College in Burwood, Melbourne.

For the past three months, the City of Whitehorse has led a community campaign following a plea from their “adopted country” Sierra Leone. 

Australian sporting manufacturer, Pacific Dunlop, also donated a large range of sporting clothing and shoes and was also loaning two state-of-the-art racing bikes each valued at $5,000 to the Sierra Leone cyclists competing in the Games.

Whitehorse Mayor, Councillor Sharon Ellis said, “We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of both businesses and residents who have been willing to donate to help the Sierra Leone athletes achieve their dream of competing at the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games.”

Councillor Ellis said companies, from both within Whitehorse and outside the municipality, had donated goods including tracksuits, polo shirts, singlets, windcheaters, caps, sports bags, athletic shoes, bicycle helmets, boxing gloves, head guards and spikes for athletic shoes.

Councillor Ellis said the Council now had now collected enough clothing and sporting equipment to support the entire Sierra Leone team who will compete in boxing, cycling, athletics and weightlifting at the Games.

The cycling will be the team’s first event on Thursday.

She said Mount Scopus College had taken a special interest in the Sierra Leone team with students studying the country’s culture in the lead up to the Games and the school had offered the team its facilities for training.

The team’s Chef de Mission, Mohammed Alpha Kabba, told the Council that the team was extremely grateful for the equipment and uniforms provided by the City of Whitehorse.

The municipality will also have a chance to experience the Games spirit as the Queen’s Baton stays overnight in the area on Monday. There will be an event to mark the occasion at which the Sierra Leone team will be guests of honour, wearing their new uniform.

There are over 147,000 residents in the municipality with the area being known for its tree-lined streets and abundance of bushland reserves.

The City of Whitehorse is also organising a host of exciting community events such as African music, dance and culture displays which promote and foster an understanding of life in Sierra Leone.

For more information about the City of Whitehorse events, go to: www.whitehorse.vic.gov.au.

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