Twelve Ulster athletes are set to star in Los Angeles
Twelve athletes from Ulster are ready to deliver for Team Ireland at the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles this summer. Their selection comes after four years of training and competition and the action gets under way from July 25.
A 40-strong coaching and management team will be supported by 155 Team Ireland volunteers at the tournament, with 88 athletes representing our island.
The Ulster contingent are Christopher Kane (19) from Lisburn and Peter Fitzpatrick (20) from Ballynahinch (5-a side football), Carole Catling (37) from Newtownabbey (table tennis), Kirsty Devlin (20) from Belfast and Patrick Quinlivan (32) from Letterkenny (gymnastics), Oliver Doherty (38) from Buncrana, Jill Connery (29) from Scarva and playing partner Ursula McDonnell (71) from Belfast (all golf), Sarah Jane Johnston (35) from Lurgan (aquatics), Déarbháil Savage (14) from Mowhan (equestrian), Sean Campbell (30) from Coleraine (ten pin bowling) and Nuala Browne (38) from Strabane (kayaking).
Ahead of their American adventure, the athletes enjoyed a reception at Stormont yesterday and Sports Minister Carál Ní Chuilín said: "I congratulate all the athletes on being selected to compete at the Special Olympics World Summer Games where you will have the opportunity to compete at the highest level and meet people from across the globe.
"Los Angeles is famous for its movie stars and for its glitz and glamour but for the duration of the Games you will be the stars and you have earned all the plaudits you will receive. I wish you all the best and I know you will make us proud.
"Sport and physical activity is for everyone and my Department and I are committed to increasing participation among under-represented groups and I commend Special Olympics Ulster and Special Olympics Ireland for their efforts."