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Wednesday 18 July 2018

Special Olympics medallists look to 'bottle that feeling of joy'

Mark Maloney, from Galway, celebrates with Matt English, CEO of Special Olympics Ireland, after winning gold in the soccer. Photos: Mark Condren
Mark Maloney, from Galway, celebrates with Matt English, CEO of Special Olympics Ireland, after winning gold in the soccer. Photos: Mark Condren
Aoife O’Sullivan celebrates winning gold Photos: Mark Condren
Declan Kiernan with his sisters Dara and Niamh, right, after winning medals on the final day of the competition. Photos: Mark Condren

Laura Lynott

More than 2,000 medals were awarded to 1,600 athletes at the Special Olympics Ireland closing ceremony as Team Ireland looks set to produce an array of gold medallists for the World Games next year.

Some 12,000 spectators watched a host of events across the four days of the games, from athletics, to basketball and equestrian, in venues around the country.

Legendary broadcaster Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh, a patron of the Special Olympics Ireland, awarded footballers their medals at the closing ceremony at the National Sports Campus, Blanchardstown, Dublin.

"There is nowhere more important I could be," Mr Ó Muircheartaigh told the Irish Independent. "I wouldn't have missed today for the world. And the more people that come to see the Special Olympics, the more they can see how amazing this event is.

"To see the joy on the athletes' faces as they're awarded medals - you want to bottle that feeling. It's a wonderful thing to witness."

Special Olympics Ireland CEO Matt English said: "There are 2,500 volunteers who have literally run the Games and without them we couldn't function."

Irish Independent

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