THE ‘A’ TEAM
SEVEN ATHLETES REPRESENT WICKLOW IN SPECIAL OLYMPICS
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
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.