Members of our local Special Olympics team were given a heroes' welcome at St Joseph's NS, Milltownpass this afternoon.
Bocce player Breda O'Hanlon had the honour of carrying the Flame of Hope torch into the school as the boys and girls of Milltownpass cheered on her and her team mates: swimmers David Corroon and Kevin Kennedy and footballer Daryl Gahan.
The athletes' visit to St Joseph's was part of a series of nationwide Torch Run events that are taking place in the run up to the Special Olympics Ireland Games, which get underway tomorrow. The events are organised by An Garda Síochána and the Police Service of Northern Ireland.
St Joseph's was chosen in recognition of its fundraising efforts for Special Olympics Ireland. Speaking at the event, principal Pauline O’Hara welcomed the athletes to the school and said that the staff and pupils were honoured to be chosen for a visit.
She also wished the four team mates and the other local athletes competing in Dublin the best of luck this weekend.
In total, 1,600 Special Olympics athletes from across Ireland will participate in the Special Olympics Ireland Games in 13 sports and Motor Activities Training. The athletes will be supported by 600 coaches and official delegates and 2,500 volunteers.
The Games are set to be one of the largest and most prestigious sporting events to take place in Ireland in 2018 and selected athletes from these Games will go on to represent Team Ireland at the 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Abu Dhabi.
See footage of their visit here:
For further information about Special Olympics Ulster and the Special Olympics Ireland programme, visit www.specialolympics.ie.