Local man David O'Hare will become the first Irish athlete to compete at the Trisome Games for people with Down Syndrome in Turkey next month.
The young sports fanatic was part of a group of footballers trying out for a Futsal team to go to the Games in Turkey in March. David has Down syndrome and is a member of St Therese Special Olympics Club.
The 2020 Trisome Games, a multisport event, takes place in Turkey - hosting teams with athletes with Down syndrome from over 20 countries in eight sports.
Four years ago, the Trisome Games in Italy not only saw an extraordinary display of skill and talent on the track, but lasting friendships were formed in a fun-filled atmosphere off the track too.
It was in January, after notice was given that the football event would have to be postponed, that David looked out for a new challenge, one to keep him in good spirits until the next football trials commence.
David's mum Caroline became aware that David might be able to qualify for athletics in the same event in Turkey.
Now this Irishman was in luck! David did not only qualify but he qualified in both his disciplines, 100m and 200m. To top this, he ran qualifying times in all three events he competed in during 2019. Plans had to be put in place at a speed.
With the event only a few months away, things have to happen quickly. Supporting David and his family is Tsenya, who have experience of international participation for athletes with Down syndrome.
'Fortunately David is in good form and together with football, swimming and karate, he has also been training athletics on a weekly base. The next couple of weeks he will focus on athletics, training with his coaches.' says Tessa van Heerden, Tsenya.
David will be the first ever Irish athlete with Down syndrome to compete in Athletics at one of these events. This is a milestone for sport development in Ireland and a wonderful opportunity for this, very special, local athlete to experience the global stage.
With dreams in his eyes and expectations in his heart, David will need a bit of help getting to Turkey. It would be immensely appreciated if Dundalk's community could find it in their hearts to support this pioneer. Funds raised will go towards accommodation, travelling cost and kit. David will be travelling with his mother Caroline on the 31st March to Antalya, Turkey. Anyone interested in helping please contact Caroline O'Hare: 087-6249741.