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4/10/2012
South African Olympic gold medalists visit Rashid Paediatric Therapy Centre in Dubai

4th October 2012 – Global waterwear brand Arena has announced that Olympic gold medallists Chad Le Clos and Cameron Van Der Burgh of South Africa will visit the Rashid Paediatric Therapy Centre in Dubai on October 4th. The two Arena Elite Team members will be in Dubai competing at the first leg of the 2012 FINA/Arena World Cup series on October 2nd and 3rd.

The Rashid Paediatric Therapy Centre provides integrated education and therapy services to children with Special Needs, and is unique in the United Arab Emirates for its holistic, multi-disciplinary approach to special education. The Center works to develop children's abilities to the extent that they can achieve maximum independence and participation in the home, school, and community, and also to create a greater awareness of disability issues in the Gulf Community. The two swimmers will arrive at the Centre at 11am on Thursday, where they will be met by the children and presented with flowers, and then be taken on a tour of the facilities.

Van Der Burgh’s last competitive visit to Dubai earned him a 100m breaststroke title and 50m silver medal at the 2011 World Short Course Championships. Since then he has reached the pinnacle of the sport, winning the 100m breaststroke gold medal at the London Olympics in a new world record. Visiting the children at the Rashid Centre, however, will give him something very different from his swimming feats, as he explained: “It will be very rewarding, I’d like to help the children forget their challenges for one day. I’m sure they watched the Olympic Games, and I think they will be excited to meet Chad and me, as sportsmen to look up to. I remember meeting Penny Heyns (South African double gold medallist at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics) as a child, and it was very inspirational for me.” But for Van Der Burgh it won’t be just about the children looking up to sports stars – he expects it will be humbling for him, as he reveals further: “This visit will also give me humility – sometimes in life we are too worried about small things such as not being rich enough, or winning silver instead of gold, and things like that. This experience will remind me to put life’s different facets into the right perspective, and to make every day precious, as the Alex’s death (Norwegian friend and rival Alexander Dale Oen, who died tragically in April) continues to teach me every day."

Le Clos’s previous two visits to Dubai have also been fruitful, picking up the 200m butterfly world SC title in 2010, and winning six out of six events at last year’s first leg of the FINA/Arena World Cup, after which he went on to win the series. His 200m butterfly victory over Michael Phelps was one of the highlights in the Olympic pool, and he added to his medal tally with a silver in 100m fly. “I think it is very important to get in volved in this kind of initiative,” said Le Clos. “It is important to have a role model, and hopefully the children will see us in this way – I still look up to people and it’s very important for me. My motto is always to try, to set impossible dreams, and to achieve them in your mind. These children have challenges, but my message is they have to believe, to try their utmost, and to give their best.”

Mrs. Maryam Othman, Director General of Rashid Centre, expressed her deep appreciation for this humanitarian initiative by Arena and Sun and Sand Sports, and said: " this visit of the two olympic champions, Chad Le Clos, Olympic and Commonwealth Games Champion, and Cameron Van Der Burgh, Olympic Champion and World Record holder, plays a big role in encouraging children with special needs to challenge themselves and challenge their disabilities; and the event was not just a routine guest-visit, but the olympic champions engaged with the children of Rashid Centre in many different sports activities, and this idea comes as a way to highlight the magnificent skills and sports abilities of our children in Rashid Centre and a way to send a message to the world that all what children with special needs require from the society is them to believe in their extraordinary capabilities and for the society to give them a chance to prove themselves."

She added: "I would like to thank 'Arena' and 'Sand and Sand Sports', in addition to both olympic champions for this wonderful opportunity that they have offered to the children of Rashid Paediatric Therapy Centre, as it held a very sensitive human touch in every activity that took place, and I hope that through this event, we will be able to attract more of such inspiring stories that will be a lesson for all who underestimate the power and capabilities of children with special needs."

Vishal Bhatia, Head of Sun and Sand Sports Marketing said “Over the years Rashid Paediatric Therapy Centre has done fantastic work with Children with special needs in the UAE. We, Sun and Sand Sports and Arena are privileged to be associated with this Centre giving us a chance to learn about the childrens challenges draw inspiration from their stories.”

About Sun and Sand Sports

Founded in Dubai in 1979, Sun and Sand Sports LLC is the largest multi-gender sports retailer and wholesaler in the Middle East with over 100 stores in 6 countries – UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. Sun & Sand Sports is the official distributor for Arena in the region & is exclusively retailed across the G.C.C.

For more information visit www.sunandsandsports.com

Marketing contact:

Name: Vinay Changarangath, Email: vinay@sunandsandsports.com; Mobile: +971-508722592