Today celebrates the start of the 9th National Summer Games for Great Britain. For five days until 1 September, up to 1,700 athletes with learning disabilities will meet in Bath to take part in the largest sport event in the UK; with Leicestershire making up the largest contingent of participants from the East midlands region.
Organised by Special Olympics GB, the charity provides year-round sports training and competition across England, Scotland and Wales for both adults and children with learning disabilities; currently serving 8,000 athletes.
East Midlands Special Olympics GB region’s chair and head of delegation for Bath 2013, Mick Hilliam, said “The excitement in the local clubs has been building up over the past couple of months and all the coaches and families are once again looking forward to some memorable and magical moments from our Special Olympics GB athletes.”
The previous games, held in Leicester in 2009, spurred local athletes to upkeep their training, leading some of whom to represent Team GB at the World Games in Athens 2011. Since then, the past four years have seen dedicated sportsmen and women from across the region undertake weekly training and regional competitions in preparation for the games.
The Opening Ceremony takes place today at the Royal Crescent in Bath, and ever since the 2012 Olympics and Special Olympics in London last summer, Britain has been gripped by athletic competition. With over 600 coaches, 120 sport officials and 500 event volunteers, not to mention the scores of fans and supporters, such interest is sure to extend to the University of Bath on Thursday 29 August when the games begin, with 12 sports being competed over 3 days, ranging from athletics, badminton, five-a-side football, gymnastics and table tennis.
With such a strong force from our region, with 33 athletes out of the total 54 being Leicestershire based, Mick continued “All the athletes representing the East Midlands including those from Leicester and Leicestershire have once again have dedicated themselves to the cause over the past four years to be the best they can be for the blue ribbon event of the Special Olympics programme. “
The events are free and require spectators to head to the Sports Training Village at the University of Bath to receive information on how to view all the sports on campus. For more information please visit http://www.bath2013.org.uk