TEAM CONNAUGHT ATHLETES RETURN HOME WITH MEDALS AND MEMORIES GALORE FROM THE SPECIAL OLYMPICS IRELAND GAMES
BY SPORT GBFM JUNE 20, 2018
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Team Connaught have returned home with a haul of311 medals from the 2018 Special Olympics Ireland Games in Dublin.
Some 221 local Team Connaught athletes competed in the Special Olympics Ireland Games between Friday 15th and Sunday 17th June. A total of 1600 athletes from the four corners of Ireland took part in the Games, which are one of the largest and most prestigious sporting events to take place in Ireland in 2018.
Connaught athletes competed in 13 sports and Motor Activities Training, including Athletics, Aquatics, Badminton, Basketball, Bocce, Bowling, Equestrian, Football, Golf, Gymnastics, Kayaking, Pitch & Putt and Table Tennis.
Team Connaught won 311 medals (150 gold; 92 silver and 69 bronze), alongside countless fourth and fifth place finishes, participation ribbons and personal bests at the Games, which concluded in Dublin on Sunday (17th June).
Roscommon swimmer, Aoife Hegarty, who was selected as a flag bearer for the Opening Ceremony of the Games, was amongst the region’s champions, claiming gold and two bronze medals in aquatics, while gymnast John Keenan, 18, from Ballymore, Co. Westmeath, who was chosen as the region’s torch bearer for the Opening Ceremony, won two gold and one silver medal in artistic gymnastics.
Meanwhile, Team Connaught’s youngest athletes, both aged 10, had an impressive first Games; Harry Hasson from Moate, Co. Westmeath won gold in standing long jump and silver in the 50M run while Maeve Walsh from Rosscahill, Co. Galway won silver in artistic gymnastics (floor).
A total of 2,144 medals (959 gold, 667 silver and 518 bronze) were awarded over the course of the four-day residential Games, with countless personal bests achieved by athletes from each of the five regions – Connaught, Eastern, Leinster, Munster and Ulster.
Athletes competed in 13 sports and Motor Activities Training, including Athletics, Aquatics, Badminton, Basketball, Bocce, Bowling, Equestrian, Football, Golf, Gymnastics, Kayaking, Pitch & Putt and Table Tennis.
Commenting as the Games drew to a close, Matt English, CEO, Special Olympics Ireland said:“The 2018 Special Olympics Ireland Games were a huge success and on behalf of the organisation, I would like to thank our athletes for their incredible commitment, energy and enthusiasm; not just over the course of the three days but over the many months that they have been preparing and training for these Games.
“I would like to extend a huge thank you to thefamilies and supporters that turned out in such amazing numbers and to each and every volunteer who went above and beyond their roles to make sure that our athletes had the time of their lives. And to our athletes, you are the reason for everything we do and it’s no less than you deserve, I hope you are going home happy and proud.”
“Myra Merrick, regional director for Special Olympics Connaught said:“Our congratulations go to all of the athletes that took part and represented Connaught so well over the course of Games – we’re so proud of each and every one of them. For many of our Team Connaught athletes, the 2018 Special Olympics Ireland Games in Dublin were their first chance to compete on a national stage; to represent their region at these prestigious Games is, in itself, a phenomenal achievement.
“Bringing home 311 medals and personal bests from a competition of this level is a huge achievement. They are also returning home with memories and new friendships that will last a lifetime. I would also like to thank all the families, coaches and volunteers from across Connaught, who all played their part in making these Games such a huge success; it would not have been possible without them.”
Selected athletes from these Games will go on to represent Team Ireland at the 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Abu Dhabi.
The 2018 Games were supported by 600 coaches and official delegates and 2,500 volunteers, with thousands of spectators turning out to cheer on athletes in venues across Dublin.
Special Olympics Ireland is a year-round sports training and competition programme for people with an intellectual disability. The benefits of participation in Special Olympics extend beyond the physical benefits of sport; it’s about team spirit, friendships and fun; it’s about a feeling of belonging and a sense of being part of a community. Special Olympics changes lives in so many different ways, enabling people with an intellectual disability to achieve and win not only in sport but in life too.
The public can follow further news and updates from the 2018 Special Olympics Ireland Games on Twitter,@SOIreland using the hashtag, #IrelandGames. Further updates and highlights from the Games will be posted on the Special Olympics Ireland Facebookpage, Facebook.com/SpecialOlympicsIreland
For further information about the Special Olympics Ireland programme, visit www.specialolympics.ie