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BREAKING: Sheffield to host Special Olympics 2017

Special Olympics Swimming @ Ponds Forge.Determination for Clare Ward from the North West as she wins the 200 metres freestyle.

Special Olympics Swimming @ Ponds Forge.Determination for Clare Ward from the North West as she wins the 200 metres freestyle.

  • by Ellen Beardmore
 

Sheffield is to host the GB Special Olympics’ summer games - bringing up to 10,000 visitors and a £1.5 million boost - in exactly three years today.

The tenth multi-sports event - for athletes with intellectual or learning disabilities and the only other games to bear the official Olympic title - is returning to the city after it was held here in 1993.

Sheffield Council prepared a bid to host the Special Olympics, which was chosen above others from around the country, and said the games would pump cash into the city and local businesses.

It aims to build on the success of the Tour de France and showcase Sheffield’s ‘world-class’ facilities as well as its reputation as a city of sport.

Harry Harpham, deputy council leader, told The Star: “It will bring people to the city where they will spend money in our local firms and businesses.

“When the Tour was here there was a real buzz and that’s the kind of thing the city needs. We need to stand up and show the rest of the country and Europe just what a fantastic city Sheffield is.”

More than 2,000 athletes and 5,000 spectators from across the country will head to the Special Olympics over six days in August 2017.

Around 500 volunteers will also be recruited.

Karen Wallin, Special Olympics GB’s CEO, said: “We are sure the great city of Sheffield will provide a very successful and hugely memorable event for all.”

Events will be held at Ponds Forge, the English Institute of Sport, Concord, Hillsborough and Graves Park leisure centres as well as the Sheffield Hallam University City Athletics Stadium on Woodbourn Road and Forge Valley School.

The 1993 games were opened at Don Valley Stadium.

But Coun Harpham said: “The facilities we have are fantastic and we believe there will serve the athletes very well. You only have to look at how many people trained for the Commonwealth Games in Sheffield.”

The final cost of hosting the games is still being calculated.

 

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