TEAM IRELAND CLINCH FOURTH MEDAL AT SPECIAL OLYMPICS WORLD SUMMER GAMES (LA2015)

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Sarah Jane Johnston

  • Team Ireland swimmer Sarah Jane Johnston, aged 35 from Lurgan, Co. Armagh claims second bronze medal
  • Team Ireland swimmer Lorraine Hession, aged 27 from Turloughmore, Co. Galway takes a fourth place ribbon
  • Team Ireland bowling team celebrates sixth place ribbon on day two at LA2015
  • Team Ireland’s tally at end of day two is four medals (one silver, three bronze) plus a fourth and sixth place ribbon
  • A host of personal bests have been achieved by Team Ireland in first two days of World Games.

Day two of competition at the Special Olympics World Summer Games saw Team Ireland’s medal haul climb to four, with a total of three bronze and one silver now achieved by Team Ireland athletes.

After a busy first day where the team secured three medals, day two of the competition saw further success in the pool for Sarah Jane Johnston (35) from Lurgan, Co Armagh. Talented Sarah took home a second bronze medal from the 2015 Los Angeles Games after finishing third in the 100M Freestyle on Monday (27th July) having won her first bronze in the 100M backstroke on Sunday (26th July).

Speaking after the race, Sarah Jane said: “I am very happy and proud of my performances and I am really enjoying the World Games.”

There was also success in the pool for Galway girl Lorraine Hession who celebrated a fourth place ribbon in a separate division of the 100M Freestyle. The 27- year-old, who hails from Turloughmore, Co Galway also registered a personal best in the race.

Team Ireland aquatics coach Jennifer Hughes from Baldoyle, Dublin is thrilled with her team’s performance, commenting:  Lorraine and Jane swam really well today in two competitive races, I’m delighted with their performances and am really proud of them.”

Team Ireland's Lorraine Hession, a member of Team South Galway, from Turloughmore, Co Galway, celebrates after being presented with her 4th place ribbon for her swim in the AQ 100M Freestyle Division F14
Team Ireland’s Lorraine Hession, a member of Team South Galway, from Turloughmore, Co Galway, celebrates after being presented with her 4th place ribbon for her swim in the AQ 100M Freestyle Division F14

There was also a sixth place ribbon on day two for the Team Ireland Bowling players in the team event: Ulster’s Sean Campbell, aged 30 from Coleraine, Co. Derry (Causeway Coast Special Olympics Club); Annita O’Connor, aged 47 from Carlow(member of Delta Centre Ltd); John Rowan, aged 51 from Rathnew, Co. Wicklow (member of Blue Dolphins Special Olympics Club); and Michael Conboy, aged 48 from Galway city(Corrib Bowling Club).

A personal best was also achieved by James Meenan (20) from Dundalk, Co Louth in the 100M heats. Heats are continuing across the 12 sports featuring Team Ireland athletes, with finals due in gymnastics, bocce, athletics, badminton, and bowling among others.

This is a massive year for Special Olympics Ireland and its 88 athletes – including 12 from Ulster – who have travelled to Los Angeles to compete as part of Team Ireland at LA2015.

Commenting on Team Ireland’s second day at LA2015, Matt English, CEO Special Olympics Ireland said: “Team Ireland continues to put in great performances across all 12 sports. The atmosphere in every venue has been fantastic and the travelling Irish support is certainly helping our athletes rise to the occasion. I know that the Irish public at home is cheering on every medal and personal best and joining us in celebrating this fantastic event.”

Shaun Cassidy, regional director, Special Olympics Ulster said: “It’s fantastic to hear news of Team Ireland’s continuing success at LA2015 of the World Games – our congratulations go to all of the athletes and particularly Ulster’s Sarah Jane Johnston who clinched her second bronze medal on day two. The athletes’ achievements fill us with an immense sense of pride and we’re so pleased to see everyone getting behind Team Ireland at home and abroad.”

The World Games run until August 2nd 2015. Team Ireland will compete in 12 different Olympic style sports. Their selection comes after four years of training and competition

Twelve local Special Olympics Ulster athletes are competing in the Special Olympics World Summer Games, Los Angeles 2015 (LA2015) as part of Team Ireland: Christopher Kane, aged 19, from Lisburn and Peter Fitzpatrick, aged 20 from Ballynahinch, Co. Down (5-a side football); Carole Catling, aged 37 from Newtownabbey, Co. Antrim (table tennis); Kirsty Devlin, aged 20 from Belfast and Patrick Quinlivan, aged 32 from Letterkenny, Co. Donegal (gymnastics); Oliver Doherty, aged 38 from Buncrana, Co. Donegal, Jill Connery, aged 29 from Scarva, Co. Armagh & playing partner, Ursula McDonnell, aged 71 from Belfast (all golf); Sarah Jane Johnston, aged 35 from Lurgan, Co. Armagh (aquatics); Déarbháil Savage, aged 14 from Mowhan, Co. Armagh (equestrian); Sean Campbell, aged 30 from Coleraine (ten pin bowling); and Nuala Browne, aged 38 from Strabane, Co. Tyrone (kayaking).

A 40-strong coaching and management team are supporting the athletes in Los Angeles, with 155 Team Ireland volunteers working at the Games. Over 300 family members have also made the trip to the World Games to support Team Ireland athletes.

Follow Team Ireland at the World Games:

Twitter: @SOIreland  use & @SO_Ulster the hashtags, #TeamIreland #LA2015 & #SupportanAthlete

Facebook: Special Olympics Ireland  & Special Olympics Ulster

Website: specialolympics.ie

Special Olympics is a year-round sports organisation for athletes with intellectual disabilities and is supported by the Irish Sports Council and Sport NI. Team Ireland sponsors include Eircom, Aer Lingus and Gala who all pledged significant funds to help send Team Ireland to Los Angeles.

 

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