Belfast Telegraph

Big night for Special Olympians at Belfast City Hall

By Amanda Ferguson

Belfast's Team Ulster athletes were the toast of City Hall last night at a reception to recognise their success at the Special Olympics Ireland Games.

The 241-strong delegation won 387 medals – 179 gold, 125 silver and 83 bronze – in Limerick last month.

Last night 25 athletes and coaches from the Belfast area attended an event hosted by Lord Mayor Nichola Mallon.

Ms Mallon said: "I am thrilled to be able to host this winners' reception at Belfast City Hall in honour of our Team Ulster Belfast athletes who brought medals home from the Special Olympics Ireland Games.

"I would also like to congratulate our local Belfast athletes on their immense success at the Limerick Games."

Special Olympics Ulster provides sporting opportunities for 2,043 athletes with an intellectual disability in 92 clubs.

Over four days, 241 athletes took part in 14 sports.

Supported by 3,000 volunteers and 500 coaches, thousands of spectators cheered on the athletes at the University of Limerick and other official Games venues across the city.

Shaun Cassidy, regional director, Special Olympics Ulster, said: "For many of our athletes, this was their first time competing at this level of competition, having trained and worked hard for many years. To reach this level is a real achievement in itself and for Team Ulster to win 387 medals was incredible.

"Our sincere thanks go to the Lord Mayor of Belfast for recognising the achievements of our Ulster athletes by providing this honourable reception."

For further information about Special Olympics Ulster visit www.specialolympics.ie.

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