Wexford People - - NEWS - By ANNA HAYES

SPE­CIAL OLYMPIANS from all over County Wex­ford will set off to Dublin on Thurs­day morn­ing to take part in this year’s Ire­land Games, which runs from June 14 to 17.

Twenty-three ath­letes, six chap­er­ones and three head coaches from Wex­ford Spe­cial Olympics Sports Club will take part in the games, in many sports in­clud­ing ath­let­ics, aquat­ics/swim­ming, bas­ket­ball, bocce, pitch and put, artis­tic gym­nas­tics, and rhyth­mic gym­nas­tics.

Most of the sports will be cen­tred around the Na­tional Sports Cam­pus in Ab­bot­stown, and Mor­ton Sta­dium. A res­i­den­tial event, the Wex­ford ath­letes, who are part of Team Le­in­ster, will be stay­ing in cam­pus ac­com­mo­da­tion in NUI Maynooth for the four days.

Along­side the com­pe­ti­tion there will be a Healthy Ath­lete Vil­lage which pro­vides health screen­ings, health ed­u­ca­tion and re­sources com­pli­men­tary to ath­letes in a fun and wel­com­ing en­vi­ron­ment. The so­cial as­pect of the Games is another vi­tal part of Spe­cial Olympics. Many so­cial events in­clud­ing dis­cos, fun games, mu­sic ses­sions and drama add to the whole ex­pe­ri­ence. The ath­letes will stay with their vol­un­teer chap­er­ones and coaches while fam­ily mem­bers

will at­tend the venues to cheer them in in each sport.

The Ire­land Games take place ev­ery four years and it is a great achieve­ment for the 23 ath­letes to rep­re­sent their prov­ince, hav­ing trained hard all year in their re­spec­tive sports.

Wex­ford Spe­cial Olympics Club has re­ceived huge sup­port from the peo­ple of Wex­ford and they are very grate­ful for it. The club has a Twit­ter ac­count, @sowex­ford, so peo­ple can keep up to date with all their events at the games.

The Spe­cial Olympics Law En­force- ment Torch Run Team will travel through­out the four prov­inces of Ire­land from Mon­day, June 11 and will ar­rive at the Open­ing Cer­e­mony in Tal­laght Sta­dium on Thurs­day evening where The Olympic Flame of Hope will be lit. This cer­e­mony promises to be an ex­cit­ing event for ath­letes and coaches, cheered on by crowds of fam­i­lies and sup­port­ers in a packed sta­dium.

The chap­er­ones at­tend­ing the games are Rosarie McDon­ald, Mary Bar­rett, Grace Fer­rick, Denise Dowl­ing, Jack Whe­lan and Mary McKeg­ney.

The head coaches are Michael Mur­phy (bas­ket­ball), Peadar Dempsey (pitch and putt), Sinead Sin­nott (artis­tic gym­nas­tics). Also coach­ing at the gym­nas­tics events are: Marie Baker, Emily McMil­lan, and John O’Connor.

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