Special Olympics National Games

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A team of 30 athletes from Sheffield came home from this year’s Special Olympics National Games in Bath with 44 medals.

The Sheffield Otters, a competitive sports club for people with learning disabilities, train weekly at Hillsborough Leisure Centre and Ponds Forge International Centre, which are run by Sheffield International Venues (SIV).

Together with the region’s athletics team and football team, the Sheffield athletes formed part of the Yorkshire and Humberside team which took part in the country’s largest sports event for athletes with intellectual disabilities.

This year’s edition of the games, the ninth in its history, saw more than 1,700 athletes from across the country compete in 12 sports.

The Sheffield Otters swimming team, who compete regularly throughout the region and nationally in the Special Olympics every four years, won five gold, 15 silver and eight bronze medals.

The athletics team came home with five gold, five silver and five bronze medals and the Sheffield Spartans football team won bronze in the 5-a-side competition.

Jayne Thompson, club secretary, said: “We are delighted to return to Sheffield with 44 medals. It was a great effort from the whole team and it makes all the training at Ponds Forge and Hillsborough Leisure Centre worthwhile.

“The Special Olympics is a unique event that provides a life changing and inspirational opportunity for children and adults with learning disabilities to compete in sport at a national level.”

Tim Hicks, general manager at Hillsborough Leisure Centre, said: “We have a great relationship with the Sheffield Otters, who train at our venue every week.

“We’re delighted that they have done so well in this year’s Special Olympics, and look forward to welcoming them back to the centre when they start their preparation for the next edition of the games.”

The team held a special event at the Millennium Hall Polish Club in Ecclesall, where The Lord Mayor of Sheffield, Vickie Priestley, was in attendance to celebrate the athletes’ achievements.