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Video: Sports Minister gives Stormont send-off to Ulster's Special Olympic athletes

With just 20 days to go until their departure to Los Angeles, the Special Olympics Ulster team were treated to a reception at Stormont.

The event was hosted by Carál Ní Chuilín, Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure, was attended by guests along with the 12 athletes and 27 volunteers who fundraised in order to accompany the athletes to the Special Olympics World Summer Games.

 “I congratulate all the athletes on being selected to compete at the Special Olympics World Summer Games. You will have the opportunity to compete at the highest level and meet people from across the globe in a spirit of friendship and sportsmanship,” said Sports Minister, Carál Ní Chuilín

“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. I and my Department are committed to increasing participation among under-represented groups I commend Special Olympics Ulster and Special Olympics Ireland for their efforts in increasing participation levels. Equally, the Executive’s overarching strategy for public health, ‘Making Life Better’, encourages support for everyone to achieve their full health and wellbeing potential.”

Special Olympics Ulster is part-funded by five Stormont departments, along with sponsorship secured from the private sector.

 “It is a real privilege for our local Team Ireland athletes, coaches, family members and volunteers to attend this special reception, hosted by the Culture, Arts and Leisure Minister at Parliament Buildings. With less than a month until the World Games, today has been a huge boost to the team’s preparations, as the countdown for LA2015 begins, particular thanks should be given to the NI Executive and Sport NI for their vision and drive in supporting disability sport across Northern Ireland. Without this encouragement Special Olympics simply could not function,” said Shaun Cassidy, Regional Director for Special Olympics Ulster

The Special Olympics World Summer Games will be held from 25 July to 2 August 2015 and will be supported by 155 Team Ireland volunteers who will travel to L.A. with over 300 family members.

For more information visit www.specialolympics.ie/supportanathlete

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