Dublin football legend Dean Rock and Olympian Natalya Coyle called for volunteers to get involved in the 2018 Special Olympics Ireland Games after it announced that the massive event will take place in Dublin next year.
Running over four days, from Thursday, June 14 to Sunday June 17, the Games will be one of the largest and most prestigious sporting events to take place in Ireland next year.
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.
Dean Rock said that Special Olympics will be counting on the support of everyone to make them a success.
“We’re here to mark something very special today, the Special Olympics Ireland Games coming back to Dublin in June 2018,” Dean said.
“They were last here in 2002, a year before the World Games took place in Dublin in 2003. It was an amazing time and had such an impact on communities across Ireland. But, as in 2002 and 2003, Special Olympics needs each and every one of us to get on board.”
Olympian Natalya Coyle, also an ambassador for Special Olympics, said local support would be essential to making the Games a success.
“It is now up to every one of us to show all the athletes who have come so far the support they deserve. We call on everyone to get behind these Games by volunteering so that we can give these inspiring athletes the professional and comprehensive Games experience they deserve. Without volunteers, these Games cannot happen.”
Athlete Face of the Games Rebecha McAuley from Bray who was at today’s launch said: “Being part of Special Olympics means so much to me. My training has given me skills I can use into everyday life. I can’t wait to represent my region at these Games, so please help support us.”
The 1,600 athletes will compete in 13 sports in venues throughout Dublin with one venue in Meath and Kildare. The Sport Ireland National Sports Campus will host 6 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.
Matt English, CEO Special Olympics Ireland, said:
“Getting involved as a volunteer at the 2018 Special Olympics Ireland Games will be an unforgettable and rewarding experience. Your involvement is vital and is guaranteed to make a real difference. Everyone connected with Special Olympics is immensely excited that the Games are returning to Dublin and we hope that these Games will be a fantastic success, talked about for many years to come.”
Special Olympics competitions in each of the sports have been taking place over the past number of months at regional level, and athletes from each of the five regions have now qualified to compete at Ireland level. For the next nine months, these athletes will be busy training in their local clubs, supported by their volunteer coaches and management team.
If you wish to volunteer for the 2018 Special Olympics Ireland Games and want to find out more we invite you to attend one of our upcoming recruitment events taking place in Dublin throughout October. Check out www.specialolympics.ie for full information.