Team Ireland, sponsored by eircom, boarded a flight for Greece on Monday morning ahead of the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games. The games will take place in Athens from tomorrow, Saturday June 25 to Monday July 4.
Team Ireland, which will be the 10th largest delegation at the games, comprises126 athletes and 49 coaches. Westmeath will be represented in aquatics by Peter Oxley from Tyrrellspass, in football by Samantha Battams from Mullingar, and in basketball by Paul Dalton from Athlone. Basketball coach Bernie Corroon from Mullingar will also travel with the team to the games.
Team Ireland will compete in 12 different sports: aquatics, athletics, badminton, basketball, bocce, bowling, equestrian, football, golf, gymnastics, kayaking, and table tennis.
The 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games will be one of the biggest sporting events to take place in the world this year. 7,500 athletes from 185 nations will compete at these Games which will be supported by 25,000 volunteers.
Along with the athletes and coaches, over the coming days some 400 family members from Ireland will make the trip to Athens to support their sporting heroes. In addition over 200 Irish volunteers will travel to the games, among them 29 sports officials and technical delegates who will officiate in 11 different sports at the games. Ireland is the only delegation to send a team of volunteers to the games, a fact that is particularly significant during this, the European Year of Volunteering.
For more information log on to www.facebook.com/specialolympicsireland