Saturday 10 December 2016

'Ole, ole' breaks out as golden man Peter collects his medal

Published 31/07/2015 | 02:30

Team Ireland’s Peter Malynn
Team Ireland’s Peter Malynn
Matt English, CEO of Special Olympics Ireland, left, with Team Ireland's Peter Malynn

He was the "silver-haired man" of Team Ireland but became the "golden man" in one of the most memorable moments of the World Games.

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Peter Maylnn, the oldest member of the Irish squad, performed almost better on the podium as he did when winning gold in the bocce competition.

Dancing, waving and blowing kisses to the audience, the Mullingar man had dozens of Irish supporters and people from all over the world chanting his name. His contribution helped bring Ireland's medal tally to 22, on a day when the team's youngest member, Dearbhail Savage (15) from Mowhan, Co Armagh, also won gold in equestrian.

Team Ireland has now secured medals in swimming, athletics, equestrian, table tennis, bocce and bowling.

And the green army of fans and volunteers have been making their presence felt.

Peter (57) lapped up the applause as the LA Convention Centre broke into "olé, olé" amid scenes that have been unprecedented at these games.

More than 50 Irish fans formed a tunnel for the 57-year-old as he left the stage.

His coach, Jackie Moran, said: "He performed so well on the bocce court and he performed so well on the podium today. The Irish just lifted the place. We've never witnessed an award ceremony like that.

"He was our silver-haired man of Team Ireland, he's now our golden man," she said, adding: "Watch out Mullingar, this is coming home."

At the track at Loker Stadium in USC, Rachel Ryan (26) from Templemore in Tipperary, was overjoyed with her gold in the 400 metres, in a personal best.

"I'm very happy and excited, I didn't think I was going to come first but I guess when you don't think a thing it ends up happening," she said.

James Meenan (20) from Dundalk, Co Louth, took a bronze medal in the 200 metres.

Athletics Head Coach, Ailish Smyth, said the team were in top form despite 30C heat.

"I cannot believe they are running out of their skin and achieving personal bests. It's excellent. James ran fantastic at super speed. It's so thrilling to see them all in action," she said.

Across LA at the Equestrian Centre in Griffith Park, Team Ireland enjoyed huge success.

Dearbhail Savage's win was added to by 37-year-old Elizabeth Mair from Rathfarnham, Dublin; Thomas Connolly (38) from Coolaney, Co Sligo; and John Deevy (38) from Kilmeadan, Co Waterford. They took gold, silver and bronze respectively.

The day was rounded off by Frances Power (52) from Navan, Co Meath, who put in a huge performance to win a gold medal in the singles section of the table tennis competition.

Irish Independent

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