Norfolk gymnast Shane Baxter is ready to take on the world at Special Olympics World Summer Games
- Credit: Archant
Norfolk gymnast can't wait to test himself at the Special Olympics World Summer Games
Norfolk gymnast Shane Baxter is preparing to take on the rest of the world at the Special Olympics World Summer Games next month.
Held in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, the Games will feature 24 different sports, competed for by more than 7,000 Special Olympics athletes from all over the world.
Special Olympics is a global organisation that provides year-round sports training and competition to over five million children and adults with intellectual disabilities in over 170 countries.
Shane, 19, who lives in Norwich, competes in all six disciplines for male gymnasts: parallel bars, vault, high bar, pommel, rings and floor. He won the overall gold medal for his level at the Special Olympics National Games in Sheffield in 2017 where, along with other Norfolk Special Olympics athletes, he represented the Eastern Region.
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Being selected to represent Great Britain at the Games is a dream come true for Shane. He said: 'I am so proud to be representing Great Britain. I can't wait for the opening ceremony on March 14. The atmosphere and meeting athletes from all over the world is going to be brilliant. I'd like to thank everyone who has helped me and will do my best to bring home some medals for them!'
Shane began gymnastics six years ago with Long Stratton Gymnastics Club. He currently trains three times a week with Waveney Gymnastics Club in Lowestoft, as well as attending squad training in Sheffield and Glasgow. Alex Row, his coach at Waveney, will be one of the coaches accompanying the GB team.
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The Special Olympics movement is recognised by the International Olympic Committee as the third member of the Olympic family but, unlike Paralympics which is for elite sportspeople with disabilities, Special Olympics is for all abilities and all ages. Just like the Olympics, World Games are held every four years.
Shane has been fundraising to help Special Olympics Norfolk meet the costs of sending him to the World Games. If you would like to support him and other athletes with intellectual disabilities, you can do so at Virginmoneygiving.com/fund/ShaneSOWorldGames