Sheffield thanked for role in 'unqualified success' of Special Olympics

Swimmers at Ponds Forge.
Swimmers at Ponds Forge.
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Sheffield has been thanked for helping make the Special Olympics National Games an 'unqualified success'.

The showcase event for UK athletes with learning disabilities took place this week, with 2,600 competitors taking part in 20 sports across the city.

From swimming and athletics to equestrianism and 10 pin bowling, there was plenty of talent on show.

Athletes came from across the country to take part, and there was even a special delegation all the way from Australia.

Sheffield also hosted the hundreds of family members and friends who came to watch their loved ones take part.

Firms such as Meadowhall provided vital sponsorship, and the city's stars including Sheffield United captain Billy Sharp and boxer Kell Brook signed up to promote the games as ambassadors.

Boccia at Ponds Forge.

Boccia at Ponds Forge.

Thousands turned up to watch the athletes parade and entertainment from stars such as Tony Hadley at the opening ceremony at Bramall Lane stadium on Tuesday.

And 1,000 volunteers helped the event run as smoothly as possible.

Chris Hull from Special Olympics Great Britain said: "We have been overwhelmed by the support from the people of Sheffield, Sheffield businesses, Sheffield Council and Sheffield United.

"This has been a huge team effort from all of those parties, but also supported by the 1,000 volunteers in a variety of roles, many of whom came from Sheffield and the South Yorkshire area.

Supporters cheer on the athletes.

Supporters cheer on the athletes.

"The games have been an unqualified success and have helped put people with learning disabilities firmly on the map through their tremendous range of abilities and talents.

"I would like to thank Sheffield for hosting the national games for the second time in our 40 year history. Who knows - maybe one day we will return.

"The legacy of Special Olympics in Sheffield is strong and we know that the local club will go from strength to strength on the back of this."

The opening ceremony.

The opening ceremony.

2,600 athletes competed.

2,600 athletes competed.

The games were labelled an 'unqualified success'.

The games were labelled an 'unqualified success'.