Rugby legends are calling on volunteers and business to show their support for the Special Olympics taking place in Limerick over four days from Thursday June 12 to Sunday June 15 which comes after the successful staging of the same event in the city in 2010. In what will be one of the largest and most prestigious sporting events to take place in Ireland next year, 1,500 Special Olympics athletes from throughout the island of Ireland will travel to Limerick. They will be accompanied by 500 coaches and official delegates as well as a contingent of over 3,000 family members. The Games will be supported by a team of 3,000 volunteers who will be recruited from Limerick city, county and beyond over the coming months. Special Olympics Ireland, which offers year-round sports training to people with an intellectual disability, will be counting on the support of everyone in Limerick to make the 2014 Games a success and like in 2010, they will need each and everyone here to get on board. Former Irish and Munster Rugby star David Wallace tells me, “I call on all businesses in Limerick and the Munster region to get behind these Games and support these fantastic athletes in every way they can.” The 1,500 athletes will compete in 13 sports in venues throughout Limerick. A total of 3,000 volunteers will be required to ensure the successful staging of these Games and a major volunteer recruitment campaign for the Games is now underway. Ireland rugby captain, Paul O’Connell, who is leading the recruitment drive, tells me, “Getting involved as a volunteer at the 2014 Special Olympics Ireland Games will be an unforgettable and rewarding experience. We all need to help Special Olympics Ireland reach its target of recruiting 3,000 volunteers to ensure that these Games are a huge success.”
Businessman Denis O’Brien, Chairman of Special Olympics Ireland’s Council of Patrons, said: “It is a great endorsement of the success of the 2010 Ireland Games that Special Olympics has chosen to return to Limerick for its 2014 Ireland Games. 35 years ago Special Olympics Ireland set out on an ambitious journey to provide sporting opportunities for people with an intellectual disability in their local communities. Today Special Olympics Ireland has grown to an organisation with more than 10,000 registered athletes and almost 400 clubs. The 2010 Special Olympics Ireland Games left a lasting legacy on Limerick, providing more opportunities for people with an intellectual disability to benefit from participation in sport. I have no doubt that the 2014 Games will be equally as successful and enjoyable for all concerned.”
Matt English, CEO Special Olympics Ireland said: “Everyone connected to Special Olympics Ireland is immensely excited to be returning to Limerick for our 2014 Games. The success of the 2010 Games left a lasting impression on everyone and I am confident that the coming Games will be as enjoyable and positive an experience for everyone involved. The two critical areas to guarantee success are people and finance. Over the coming months we will be working hard to raise the €1.9m required to cover the costs of these Games. With the help of 3,000 volunteers and businesses from the greater Limerick area we are determined to ensure that the Special Olympics Ireland 2014 Limerick Games will be a fantastic success and talked about for many years to come.”
Special Olympics competitions in each of the sports have been taking place over the past number of months at regional level, and athletes from each of the five regions have now qualified to compete at Ireland level. For the next seven months these athletes will be busy training in their local clubs, supported by their volunteer coaches.
About Special Olympics Ireland:
Special Olympics Ireland is a sports organisation for people with an intellectual disability, but it provides athletes with far more than the physical benefits of sport. Special Olympics changes lives. Through sport, athletes develop both physically and emotionally, they make new friends, realise their dreams, and know they can fit in. Special Olympics Ireland enables our athletes to achieve and win not only in sport but in life too.
Special Olympics Ireland currently has: 10,429 registered athletes participating in 13 sports in 397 affiliated groups throughout the island of Ireland.
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