independent

Sunday 21 October 2018

Rebecha to be the face of Special Olympics Games

Rebecha McAuley
Rebecha McAuley

Mary Fogarty

The 2018 Special Olympics Ireland Games will take place in Dublin next June, and Bray woman Rebecha McAuley has been selected as the face of the event.

The badminton player and member of Lakers will be on radio and TV, posters and more as part of the public campaign of the games.

Last week she was on television with Ireland AM on TV3 and much more will follow in the coming months.

Rebecha was in Limerick where the team took home gold and said that she 'can't wait' to compete in Dublin.

'I don't mind having my picture taken at all,' said Rebecha, who will soon be visible everywhere, leading the campaign to support the games.

The 25-year-old athlete has been attending sports and recreation club Lakers for the past five years.

She takes part in a large range of activities, including basketball, tug-of-war, tennis, swimming and other sports, as well as dancing, drama, cookery and the drop-in centre.

'I do the whole shebang,' said Rebecha. 'I couldn't pick a favourite, I like everything.'

The talented club member performed the part of 'Principal McGee' in this year's production of 'Grease!' and was by all accounts a very formidable head teacher. 'It's really important to come to Lakers,' said Rebecha. 'The staff and the team work us really hard and keep us the way we are now. I have lots of friends between here and doing Special Olympics. It's really important to keep fit and active.'

Rebecha is from Fassaroe, where she has lived all her life, and she loves living in Bray.

She went to St Catherine's and Newcourt School before moving on to Sunbeam House and Links.

Rebecha goes to badminton training every Saturday at BIFE with the Lakers coaches, and will also attend a number of training days in Whitehall with the Eastern team.

'It's good to meet new people and support them the way they support us,' she said.

Rebecha has been playing badminton for eight or nine years and hopes to win a medal in Dublin in June, 'fingers crossed'.

'The coaches push us to a limit,' said Rebecha. But in Special Olympics, it's all about supporting each other, getting active, and trying your best.

'That's my message and what I do in Special Olympics,' said Rebecha.

Lakers will be raising money towards the cost of the games.

It's €460 per athlete, chaperone or coach. They hope to contribute at least half of that, so a drive is under way to raise €15,500 over the coming months. That will include the Christmas raffle.

Tickets will be available in two weeks, either at the centre or at a slot at SuperValu.

The games will run over four days, from Thursday, June 14 to Sunday, June 17.

Over 1,600 Special Olympics athletes from throughout Ireland will travel to Dublin.

They will be accompanied by 600 coaches and official delegates and 3,000 family members and supporters

The games will be supported by a team of 2,500 volunteers who will be recruited from Dublin and beyond over the coming months.

The athletes will compete in 13 sports in venues throughout in Dublin, with one venue each in Meath and Kildare.

The Sport Ireland National Sports Campus will host six sports; badminton, basketball, bocce, football, gymnastics, swimming and the non-competitive motor activities training programme. Across the city, Morton Stadium will host the athletics competitions, Cherry Orchard Equestrian Centre will host equestrian, the Irish Wheelchair Association facility in Clontarf will host table tennis, St Margaret's Golf Course will host golf, Leisureplex in Blanchardstown will host bowling, pitch and putt will take place at the Royal Meath Pitch and Putt Club, kayaking will be at Salmon Leap in Leixlip and the open water swimming event location is still to be confirmed.

A total of 2,500 volunteers will be required to ensure the successful staging of these Games and a major volunteer recruitment campaign for the Games is now underway.

To volunteer for the games or find out more, go to specialolympics.ie.

Bray People

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