Minister praises work of Special Olympics as athletes go for gold

The first Special Olympics Ulster event in three years has taken place and Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey was at Antrim Forum today to see the athletes going for gold.


Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey is pictured with Shaun Cassidy, Regional Director and Jim Pow, Regional Chairperson of Special Olympics Ulster, coaches, volunteers and athletes at the Special Olympic Ulster event at Antrim Forum.

More than 80 athletes competed in the two-day track and field events and were supported by a team of volunteers, coaches and family whom Minister Hargey thanked for their dedication.

The Minister, who presented awards to the winning athletes, said:I am delighted that my department can support the amazing work Special Olympics Ulster is engaged in. It has been wonderful to see these athletes participating once again in the sports they so obviously love and excel at, and the social aspect of events like this cannot be underestimated in terms of confidence building and the formation of lifelong friendships.

Special Olympics plays an important role in the development of programs and competitions, promoting inclusion within the community, changing societal attitudes to disability and in promoting physical health and mental well-being.

“And none of this would be possible without the commitment of the players, coaches, clubs, volunteers and partners who give their time, week after week and year after year to help develop those who participate in Special Olympic competition. I wish Special Olympics Ulster well for the future and specifically in all the preparations for the planned World Games in Berlin in 2023.”

The Department for Communities has committed £1.775m funding to support Special Olympics programming for the four-year period 2020/21 to 2023/24.

Notes to editors:

  1. Photo caption: Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey is pictured with Shaun Cassidy, Regional Director and Jim Pow, Regional Chairperson of Special Olympics Ulster, coaches, volunteers and athletes at the first Special Olympic Ulster event in three years at Antrim Forum.
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