Athletes ready to fly the flag for Ireland at Special Olympic Games
A mixture of excitement and determination summed up the atmosphere at the launch of the Team Ireland athletes who are set to travel to Abu Dhabi for the 2019 Special Olympics Games.
Final preparations are well underway as the 91-strong team get ready to fly the flag for Ireland at the global event.
Some 7,000 athletes will head to the Games, poised to be the biggest sporting and humanitarian event in the world in 2019, which takes place over a week from March 14 to 21.
With less than two months to go, athletes have been working hard and fighting off nerves as they aim to bring home dozens of medals between them.
“This is my sixth time going to World Games and I’ve been training away like mad with my own club down in Waterford,” Team Ireland footballer Willie McGrath said.
“The big draw in Abu Dhabi is to play well and do well and win a few gold medals to bring back to Ireland.
“There’s a big push and training is on now to get there.”
Team Ireland golfer John Keating said there is a big push to fit as much practice in as possible but he’s enjoying every minute of it.
“Preparations are going well with my own club in Castleknock and I’ve been working hard,” he said.
“This is my first Games, the nerves are fine but it’s the leading up to it that they’ll come and I’m looking forward to it.”