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VIDEO: Sheffield athletes will go for gold at Special Olympics

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  • by Ellen Beardmore
 

Athletes have spoken of how they will go for gold when Sheffield hosts the GB Special Olympics national summer games in 2017.

Three years from now, Ponds Forge swimming pool will be at the centre of the games for people with intellectual or learning disabilities.

Many Sheffield Special Olympics athletes like Megan Hattersley, of Fox Hill, plans to compete in the swimming there.

The 24-year-old, who was born with a learning disability, said: “It would be wonderful to win a gold in Sheffield, my parents would be really proud,

“I would say to people that they should come and watch because it is the closest thing to the Olympics and Commonwealth Games we will ever get

“It shows no matter what background you come from you can still do whatever sport.”

Sheffield swimmer Ellie Faulkner - who won bronze in the Glasgow Commonwealth Games - said she hoped Sheffield would have the same great atmosphere.

She said: “The Special Olympics is a great opportunity, hopefully I will be able to come down and watch.”

Sheffield Council made a bid to hold the games and will underwrite them to the cost of £60,000 but says that will be dwarfed by the 1.5m boost to the economy. Up to 10,000 visitors are expected and both the city’s universities will offer accommodation for athletes.

Karen Wallin, CEO of the Special Olympics GB, said it was hoped local businesses would help the charity raise £2 million so athletes would not have to pay to attend for the first time.

She spoke of how some said the last Special Olympics in Sheffield in 1993 had ‘kick-started’ its sporting vision. Deputy council leader Harry Harpham said the ‘inspirational’ games would put Sheffield’s ‘world-class’ venues in the spotlight.

 

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