Special Olympics Cornwall Continues to Grow and Looks Forward to National Games
Something significant is stirring in the deepest and beautiful South West of England where the athletes of Special Olympics Cornwall are building a growing club and looking forward to next year's Special Olympics GB National Games in Sheffield.
Since Special Olympics GB launched in Cornwall over two years ago in January 2014, the club has grown to 80 athletes. The club covers an area stretching from Bude in the north down to Penzance in the south, a distance of some 75 miles.
Special Olympics Cornwall will be taking 40 athletes across 8 different sports to next year's National Games in Sheffield including all members of the basketball squad who will be the sole entrants in basketball from the South West.
Special Olympics GB's National Summer Games will open on Monday 7th August, with an opening ceremony the following day. Competition will continue until Friday 11th August 2017. In the region of 2,600 athletes with intellectual disabilities will take part in 19 sports events. It is the showpiece event every four years for the organisation and its athletes. Almost 1.5 million people in the UK (2% of the population) have an intellectual disability.
Special Olympics Cornwall Chairman David Painter explained the growth in the Cornwall club: "The numbers of athletes and the different sports have grown steadily over the past 2 years. We started with just one multi sport session every month at Truro College where the athletes enjoyed football, boccia, badminton and bowls.
"Socialising and making new friends was a vital ingredient. Now we still have the monthly sessions but also satellite clubs throughout Cornwall where the athletes can further their skills in individual sports.
"We have tennis at the Heron Centre, Newquay; swimming at St Austell; basketball at Truro College every Thursday and then Boccia and badminton on a Friday evening.
"The Day Centres play indoor bowls in Newquay every Tuesday. Yes, we are growing all the time! Our volunteers have been marvellous and their efforts are well appreciated."
David added about the Cornwall athletes heading to Sheffield: "Of course, it's all about preparing the athletes for the Special Olympics GB Games in Sheffield in August 2017 - getting the entries, entering Regional events to qualify and raising the funds so that our total party of over 50 athletes and volunteers can actually go to Sheffield for five wonderful days.
"We are grateful to support being given by the Cornwall Sports Partnership, the Newquay and Truro Lions Clubs and also parents, carers and friends of Special Olympics Cornwall.
"Having witnessed the Games in Bath 2013 as a spectator, I'm greatly honoured and thrilled to be leading not only the Cornwall team in Sheffield but also acting as Head of Delegation for the South West Region."
For more information please visit the Special Olympics Cornwall website