TORCH RUN LIGHTS UP STORMONT ESTATE & HEADS ON TOUR OF NI AS TEAM ULSTER MAKE FINAL PREPARATIONS FOR SPECIAL OLYMPICS IRELAND GAMES
As the final countdown for the Special Olympics Ireland Games in Dublin gets under way, a series of Torch Run events are taking place across Northern Ireland this week, featuring local Team Ulster athletes that will compete at the Games.
The first Torch Run kicked off at Stormont Estate on Monday 11th June with over 20 runners including members of the Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) for Special Olympics, Team Ulster athletes, Kirsty Neill, 16, from Belfast; Sophie Carson, 13 from Donaghadee; Lucia Carrigan, 10 from Belfast and Garda horses, Oscar and Fiachra. The Torch arrived at Stormont Estate at 9:15am, before travelling on to five local schools across East Belfast, including Tor Bank Special School, Longstone Special School, St Joseph’s Primary School, Strandtown Primary School and Campbell College.
With just a few days to go until the Games, which run from 14-17 June in Dublin, the Police Service of Northern Ireland and An Garda Síochána will hold Torch Run events across the island of Ireland. Locally, Torch Run events are taking place in towns and cities across the Ulster region, including Portrush this morning (Tuesday 12th June) and Newry on Wednesday 13th June, before heading to Dublin, where the Flame of Hope will be brought to the Ireland Games Opening Ceremony at Tallaght Stadium on Thursday 14th June 2018.
A 273-strong delegation of Team Ulster athletes will be amongst 1,600 Special Olympics athletes from across Ireland that will participate in the Special Olympics Ireland Games in 13 sports and Motor Activities Training. The athletes will be supported by 600 coaches and official delegates and 2,500 volunteers.
The Games are set to be one of the largest and most prestigious sporting events to take place in Ireland in 2018 and selected athletes from these Games will go on to represent Team Ireland at the 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Abu Dhabi.
Team Ulster athletes will set off for the Games from Central Station on Thursday (14th June). The Special Olympics Ireland 2018 Opening Ceremony will take place in Dublin later that evening. Three full days competition will follow, with a closing ceremony on Sunday 17th June tying off proceedings, before athletes travel back to their hometowns and cities across the Ulster region.
During the weekend of the Games, various cultural and entertainment items will be organised, giving athletes, families, volunteers and the public an opportunity to experience a true Olympics-style event. The athletes will also be able to avail of a Healthy Athlete Screening Programme and participate in other health related activities throughout the weekend.
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 keep up to date with the news on the Special Olympics Ireland Dublin Games 2018 and Team Ulster’s progress on Twitter, tweet @SO_Ulster and @SOIreland using the hashtags, #IrelandGames and#TeamUlster Further updates will be posted on the Special Olympics Ulster Facebook page, Facebook.com/SpecialOlympicsUlster
For further information about Special Olympics Ulster and the Special Olympics Ireland programme, visit www.specialolympics.ie