Northern Ireland news

Athletes return from Special Olympics with haul of 86 medals

Team Ireland's Sarah-Louise Rea, from Lisburn, during her 2-0 win over Zhi Ching of SO Singapore. Picture by Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Mairead Holland

AFTER six days of competition in Abu Dhabi, Team Ireland will return home victorious today from the Special Olympics with a haul of 86 medals.

The 91 athletes, including 21 from Ulster, won 30 gold, 29 silver and 27 bronze in a range of sports, along with 15 ribbons.

They are due to fly into Dublin where a big welcome party awaits them.

Among the highlights of the week were performances by Co Antrim badminton player Sarah Louise Rea (19) from Lisburn who won all her matches to take a well-deserved gold.

Team Ireland's Peadar Connolly, from Newry, competing in the 200m breaststroke. Picture by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Other gold medal winners were the ladies' basketball team which included Faye Boyd (29), Grace Hamilton (27), Sara Shivas (23) and Sarah Thorne (24) from Antrim town, Gemma O'Keefe (45) and Amy Watters (26) from Bangor and Siobhan Dunne (27) from Strabane.

Lee Mitchell (21) from Omagh won two golds in the equestrian competitions while Patrick Quinlivan (34) from Letterkenny took gold in the pommel horse event and another gold for all round athlete,

Amy Delaney (16) from Derry was the tenpin bowling singles champion and Gemma Steele (25) from Coleraine was the winner in the doubles.

Dungannon man Richard Currie (23) scooped two golds for the bocce individual and team events while Emma Carlisle from Ballygowan swam to victory in the 100m freestyle.

Shaun Cassidy, regional director of Special Olympics Ulster, said: “From experiencing the traditions of Abu Dhabi to building friendships and making lifelong memories, this is an experience that none of our athletes will forget."

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