Local athletes and coaches to represent their country

The Tayside Special Olympics team and their coaches who head to Athens in June. (Picture by Photos on Location,'Forfar.)

The Tayside Special Olympics team and their coaches who head to Athens in June. (Picture by Photos on Location,'Forfar.)

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A NUMBER of local athletes and coaches will be representing their country in Greece this summer.

A total of 157 British athletes have been selected to participate at the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens from June 25 to July 4.

They include Martin Cassidy from Kirriemuir, who will compete in ten-pin bowling.

Also in the travelling party will be Laura Smith from Forfar (assistant head of delegation, Kim Dalgarno from Forfar (head coach ten-pin bowling), Laura Baxter from Forfar (head coach football) and Evelyn Smith from Forfar (power lifting coach). 

The British squad will compete in 17 out of the 22 sports disciplines offered including aquatics, athletics, badminton, basketball, bocca, cycling, equestrian, football, golf, gymnastics, judo, kayaking, power lifting, sailing, table tennis, tennis and ten-pin bowling.  

The team will be accompanied by 57 volunteer coaches.

The 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games celebrates the abilities and accomplishments of people with learning disabilities.

The Special Olympics story is not just about sport: it’s about families, it’s about triumphing over personal challenges, and it’s about the pride you feel representing your country: it’s about Great Britain.

The Games will feature over 7,500 Special Olympics athletes from 185 countries, 2500 coaches, 25,000 volunteers, 40,000 families, 3,000 event officials and over 3000 members of the media.

The XIII Special Olympics World Summer Games follows the enormously successful World Summer Games in Shanghai in 2007.

Special Olympics is recognised as the third member of the Olympic family along with the Olympics and Paralympics but it is not just a global event every four years.

The Special Olympics programme is a year-round sports and competition programme for children and adults with learning disabilities.

Day in and day out across the country, 8000 British learning disabled athletes’ lives are being transformed through sport.

They become more self-confident, improve their fitness, health and wellbeing, and for many, they have for the first time, not only teammates, but mates.

Special Olympics GB Team 2011 athletes were selected from 2,500 competitors who competed at the Special Olympics GB National Summer Games in Leicester in July 2009.

Special Olympics GB President, Lawrie McMenemy MBE, said: “The Special Olympics World Games are often overlooked.

“We are the third member of the Olympics – the year before the Olympics.

“The pride of representing your country and making your family proud are a huge part of our Games. Our athletes will be standing on the podium to accept medals for Great Britain.  Each and every one of them had to raise £2000 on their own to attend.  Don’t wait till 2012!  It’s time to support British athletes of all abilities now!”