Special Olympic joy for Ashley
Basketball star is called up for major tournament
A talented Rutherglen basketball player has spoken of her joy at being selected to represent the West of Scotland at this year’s Special Olympics.
Ashley McCloy will join her Glasgow Eagles teammates at the Games in Sheffield in August after her impressive performances for her club team.
The 24-year-old, who has special needs, will compete against athletes who experience similar difficulties at the largest sports event in Britain for people with an intellectual disabilities.
Ashley has been playing the sport since 2005 and told the Reformer of her excitement after her team competed in successful trial games.
“I started playing basketball at school and got into the Glasgow Eagles after that,” she said.
“We did well at the tryouts in the three-on-three matches so I’m feeling excited about it all. I really enjoy playing.”
Ashley attended a special needs school in Blantyre which supported her particular educational requirements resulting from her learning difficulties.
But since leaving school, the Mill Court resident has kept up her passion for basketball which she says is a way of meeting and communicating with new people.
Ashley’s other interests include art and drama, which she practices at Fernhill Community Centre.
And with anticipation building ahead of the Games, head coach of the Glasgow Eagles Additional Needs teams, Barry McFarlane, said the sport has been beneficial for Ashley and her teammates.
He said: “Ashley is great. She really puts the work in. She is determined and always gives 110 per cent.
“We are still trying to work out a position for her but she will definitely start the games.”
He added: “We’ve been training for over a year now at the Donald Dewar Centre in Drumchapel and we’ve always had a close affiliation with the Special Olympics at the Glasgow Eagles.
“I do think basketball does help with communication. I think they really get the benefits from it.”
The Games are a chance to give athletes with an intellectual disability the opportunity to achieve and to demonstrate their abilities to the community.
It is predicted that more than 2,600 athletes from across England, Scotland and Wales will attend to compete in a variety of sports.
Ashley’s proud mum Michelle said her daughter’s call-up was very well deserved.
She said: “She received the letter saying she was going last week so she’s really excited.
“She enjoys basketball and we’re all pleased for her.”
Up for the challenge Ashley McCloy
Special Olympic dream Ashley McCloy of the Glasgow Eagles