Thirty-eight athletes from Westmeath will travel to Limerick next month for the Special Olympics Ireland Games. In all 1,500 athletes from all over Ireland will compete at the 2014 Games which run from June 12-15.
A photo-call was held in AIT to officially launch Team Connaught which includes the Westmeath participants. The Ireland Games will be one of the largest and most prestigious sporting events to take place in Ireland this summer. In attendance at the launch was Connaught rugby player George Naoupu who was on hand to lend support and encouragement to the athletes.
Two hundred and twenty athletes from seven counties, supported by over a hundred coaches and a number of management teams, will travel to Limerick to compete in 13 sports. Thirty-eight athletes from County Westmeath will participate with a number of these being pictured at the launch in Athlone.
Myra Merrick, regional director for Special Olympics Connaught, said the Athlone IT launch was a fantastic opportunity to celebrate Team Connaught, the athletes and coaches.
“Our athletes are not only representing Connaught but also their families, clubs, and county. We know the athletes will do their parish, county and indeed Connaught proud in Limerick come June 12.”
Athletes were selected in July 2013 and have been in training for the Ireland Games - which are sponsored by eircom - since November through a combination of monthly training sessions in their sport and locally training within their clubs.
“With only a few weeks to go until the Ireland Games our athletes and coaches are in the final stages of preparation for what we all hope will be a successful and enjoyable Games for all involved. The commitment and dedication shown by our athletes, coaches and management team over the past few months has been fantastic and no doubt the hard training will pay off,” added Ms Merrick.
Special Olympics Connaught is one of five subprogrammes within Special Olympics Ireland. It offers year-round sports training and competition to athletes with an intellectual disability in 54 club groups in Connaught. The programme covers counties Galway, Sligo, Leitrim, Westmeath, Roscommon, Mayo, and Longford.