Talented gymnasts, badminton players and athletes from across Waveney win a large haul of medals

Cllr Tony Goldson is pictured with Suffolk's athletes and coaches, who were selected for the 2017 Sp

Cllr Tony Goldson is pictured with Suffolk's athletes and coaches, who were selected for the 2017 Special Olympics Summer Games. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

More than 20 athletes from across Suffolk – including many from Waveney – represented the eastern region in the Special Olympics Great Britain National Summer Games in Sheffield.

The 13 competing teams represented Wales and the regions of England and Scotland. Taking part in the three sports of athletics, badminton and gymnastics a total of 24 Special Olympics Suffolk athletes came away with an impressive tally of 32 Gold, 23 Silver and 27 Bronze medals with 18 4th place ribbons, six 5th, four 6th, four 7th and three 8th placed ribbons.

With seven coaches from Suffolk overseeing the talented youngsters, the games – which are the largest multi-sport disability event to take place in Great Britain for people with an intellectual (learning) disability – were hailed a success.

It involved 20 sports with 2,600 athletes and more than 1,000 officials and volunteers taking part in four days of competition. This was the first time that Suffolk athletes have had the opportunity to take part in the Games which are held every four years.

Badminton head coach, Mike McCarthy, said: 'Our players did a great job in their first National Games finishing the week on a high by winning a brilliant silver medal in the mixed doubles, an excellent achievement and a fitting reward for all their hard work.'

Terry McEntee, chairman of Special Olympics Suffolk, said: 'This experience and the achievements by our athletes has only been made possible by the continued efforts of parents, carers and coaches in particular at the lead clubs of Orwell Panthers Athletics Club, the ActivIpswich Project and Waveney Gymnastics Club. A big thank you also to the many people and organisations which did so much to raise the necessary funding in order to get the athletes to the Games.'

The Special Olympics Suffolk team saw 11 athletes win six Gold, four Silver and nine Bronze medals with five 4th, five 5th, three 6th, three 7th and one 8th place ribbons. The two badminton players won two Bronze medals with the 11 gymnasts winning 26 Gold, 17 Silver and 18 Bronze medals and also 12 4th, one 5th, one sixth, one 7th and one 8th place ribbons.

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