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Glorious homecoming for athletes from Special Olympics

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Richard Currie shows off the medals he got for his Bocce skills at the Special Olympics homecoming in Dublin airport

Richard Currie shows off the medals he got for his Bocce skills at the Special Olympics homecoming in Dublin airport

Richard Currie shows off the medals he got for his Bocce skills at the Special Olympics homecoming in Dublin airport

The 'Usain Bolt' of a Special Olympics sport has returned home to a hero's welcome with the Ireland team after they touched down at Dublin Airport yesterday.

Among the athletes just back from the Abu Dhabi games was Richard Currie (23), from Dungannon, who scooped two golds and one silver medal for his skills in Bocce, an Italian bowling game similar to boules or petanque.

"It was really hard going up against the big countries like America but I came out as the winner," Richard said.

"I am the Usain Bolt of Bocce - he has a big personality."

Friends and family of the Special Olympics heroes packed into the airport arrivals hall in their hundreds to welcome the 91-strong Ireland team home with their tally of 85 medals. And when the team members did emerge, they were met with a chorus of triumphant cheers and a scene of pure jubilation.

Among those waiting was the Republic's Sports Minister, Shane Ross. He said: "I told them I'd come if they won a medal. I would've come anyway but I had to come when they got the medal, and it is just great, the joy on their faces - what a great day!"

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