Thirty members of the Special Olympics have been selected to represent the Eastern Aquatics Team to compete in the National Summer Games (NSG17) to be held in Sheffield.
Saturday 18th March 2017 saw the team travel to Newmarket to take part in a Regional Training session in preparation for the Games.
Throughout the year and every year Special Olympics GB athletes have the opportunity to take part in single-sport and multi-sport competitions locally and regionally all across Great Britain.
Every four years athletes also have the chance to compete in our National Games as well as in European and World Summer and Winter Games.
The Special Olympics competition programme is non elite and is open to all abilities thanks to an inclusive divisioning system which offers athletes with intellectual (learning disabilities) the opportunity to compete among those with similar ability.
Any Special Olympics athlete from the age of eight has the opportunity to take part in local, regional, national and international level Special Olympics competitions in a variety of 26 sports.
SO East Herts works in partnership with Hoddesdon SC and Disabilty Head Coach Janet Warrington has been appointed the role of Head Coach for the Eastern Team which is made up of five branches: SO East Herts, SO Essex, SO Norfolk, SO Peterborough and SO St. Albans.
The NSG17 Sheffield will be held in Sheffield 7-12th August 2017. This is the country’s largest multi-sports event for athletes with intellectual disabilities with around 2,600 athletes with intellectual disabilities of all ages and abilities will come together from across the country. They will be supported over 4 days of competition by 800 coaches, 750 volunteers, 150 officials and over 5,000 family & friends.
As a branch SO East Herts is sending 55 members: 25 male and 12 female athletes together with 11 volunteer coaches and 5 volunteer head coaches and 2 management who will oversee the entire Eastern Team who will attend the Sheffield Games. SO East Herts members will be taking part in eight different sports: Aquatics, Athletics, Basketball, Boccia, Football, Golf, Netball, and Tennis.
Janet Warrington Head Coach for the SO Eastern Aquatics Team said “the National Summer Games is a brilliant experience for all of the athletes and the volunteers. The athletes are able to compete on a level playing field, which is great, however just as important to them is the opportunity for them to develop their independence and self-help skills, socialise with their friends and make new friends.”
The Eastern Aquatics Team has 14 females and 16 males with 9 volunteer team coaches who support the Aquatics Team throughout the event. The breakdown of athletes from each branch is:
- SO East Herts – 4 athletes
- SO Essex – 3 athletes
- SO Norfolk – 5 athletes
- SO Peterborough – 6 athletes
- SO St. Albans – 12 athletes
The regional training started with ‘Team Bonding’ activities so that the athletes and volunteer coaches could meet and get to know each other. This was followed by a land training and relaxation session before lunch.
After lunch the swimmers took part in a pool training session working on skills, race pace and relay practice.
More information about the Sheffield NSG17 can be found on the Special Olympics GB website: www.specialolympicsgb.org.uk or by going direct to www.sheffield2017.org.uk