THE ‘A’ TEAM

SEVEN ATH­LETES REP­RE­SENT WICK­LOW IN SPE­CIAL OLYMPICS

Bray People - - NEWS - ES­THER HAY­DEN

SEVEN WICK­LOW ATH­LETES will be fly­ing the flag for the Gar­den County dur­ing the 2011 Spe­cial Olympics World Sum­mer Games in Athens.

Ais­ling Maguire (Bray), Laura Reynolds ( Wick­low town), Ais­ling Beacom ( Wick­low town), Amy Quinn (Bray), Paul Kenny ( Ti­na­hely) Jonathan Deer­ing (Dunlavin and Stephen Deignan (Blain­roe) will all take part in the Games this June as part of Team Ire­land.

Spe­cial Olympics Ire­land of­fi­cially an­nounced de­tails of Team Ire­land last week and 126 ath­letes and 49 coaches will rep­re­sent Ire­land at the Games which are the high­est level of sport­ing competition for Spe­cial Olympics ath­letes in the world. The Games will take place from June 25 un­til July 4.

Team Ire­land will join 7,500 Spe­cial Olympics ath­letes from 185 na­tions for the Games which prom­ise to be one of the sport­ing high­lights of this year. Team Ire­land will com­pete in 12 sports: Aquat­ics, ath­let­ics, bad­minton, bas­ket­ball, bocce, bowl­ing, eques­trian, foot­ball, golf, gym­nas­tics, kayaking and ta­ble ten­nis.

Team Ire­land will also be sup­ported by 220 vol­un­teers from Ire­land who will vol­un­teer at the Games as well as hun­dreds of fam­ily mem­bers and sup­port­ers who will cheer them on as they com­pete in the his­tor­i­cal home of the first mod­ern-day Olympic Games.

Last week’s launch, which was hosted by RTÉ’s Bláth­naid Ní Cho­faigh and Panos Zam­be­takis of TV3’s Ap­pren­tice, was at­tended by Min­is­ter for Trans­port, Tourism and Sport, Leo Varad­kar T.D., mem­bers of Spe­cial Olympics Ire­land’s Coun­cil of Pa­trons in­clud­ing De­nis O’ Brien and Mary Davis, Matt English CEO Spe­cial Olympics Ire­land as well as The Greek Am­bas­sador to Ire­land Her Ex­cel­lency Con­stantina Zago­ri­anou-Prifti.

Speak­ing at the launch Minis- ter for Trans­port, Tourism and Sport Leo Varad­kar T.D. said, ‘ To­day marks my first of­fi­cial en­gage­ment as Min­is­ter for Sport and I am very pleased and proud that it is to at­tend a Spe­cial Olympics Ire­land Event. The Spe­cial Olympics move­ment oc­cu­pies a very spe­cial place in the hearts and minds of ev­ery­one in Ire­land and on my first en­gage­ment I note that we are mark­ing some other spe­cial “firsts” to­day. The first time Ire­land will com­pete in the kayaking competition at the World Games and the first time an open sea swim will be of­fered as part of the Games and our first ath­lete will to take part.’

Mary Davis, Chair­per­son Spe­cial Olympics Ire­land and Re­gional Pres­i­dent Spe­cial Olympics Europe Eura­sia said, ‘I am so proud of ev­ery one of our ath­letes who will be rep­re­sent­ing their coun­try and com­mu­ni­ties at the 2011 World Sum­mer Games in Athens. Each of them have shown great mo­ti­va­tion, dis­ci­pline and tremen­dous skill in get­ting this far and it is wor­thy of real cel­e­bra­tion. They are all win­ners and it is a truly re­mark­able achieve­ment for all our ath­letes, their coaches, their fam­i­lies and Spe­cial Olympics vol­un­teers.’

To cel­e­brate Team Ire­land’s par­tic­i­pa­tion at the Games, eir­com, premier spon­sors of Spe­cial Olympics Ire­land for the past 26 years, has cre­ated an ex­cit­ing new on­line cam­paign to al­low peo­ple to leave per­sonal mes­sages of sup­port for the Team Ire­land ath­letes. The spe­cial ap­pli­ca­tion is housed on the Spe­cial Olympics Ire­land’s face­book page and will be pro­moted through an on­line ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paign. When each mes­sage of sup­port is sub­mit­ted the sender will re­ceive a per­son­alised video mes­sage from a Team Ire­land ath­lete. This mes­sage can be shared with friends, so that they too can send a mes­sage of sup­port. You can leave your mes­sage of sup­port at www.face­book.com/spe - cialolympic­sire­land

Pic­ture­byDavidMa­her

Ais­ling Maguire (Bray), Laura Reynolds (Wick­low Town), Ais­ling Beacom (Wick­low Town), Amy Quinn (Bray), Paul Kenny (Ti­na­hely), Jonathan Deer­ing (Dunlavin) and Stephen Deignan (Blain­roe), with Carolan Len­non, eir­com Chief Com­mer­cial Of­fi­cer and Matt English, Spe­cial Olympics Ire­land CEO.

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