Richard Cooke (The Edinburgh Club) and Alexander Ferrier (SJC Alba) will both be travelling to Athens on Saturday 18th June to Compete in the largest SN sporting event in the world this year - The Special Olympics World Summer Games 2011. Alexander and Richard help make up a Team GB contingent of 157 athletes selected for their dedication to sport and their qualifying scores from the Special Olympics National Summer Games in Leicester in 2009.
The boys both train at their clubs and attend the Special Needs Monthly training sessions in Edinburgh and Glasgow. They have built up a lot of experience competitively, competing successfully in the UK and abroad. Richard was one of the first SN judoka in Britain to be awarded his 1st Dan and Alex is in the process of gathering points for his.
Although very excited to have been selected for the World Games, both the boys had to raise £2000 each in order to participate. They are very grateful for the hard work and generosity of all those who helped contribute to their fund raising efforts.
The Special Olympic Games is an international sporting contest organised specifically for athletes with learning difficulties. Like the Olympic and Paralympic Games, they are held every four years and include summer and winter versions. This truly is the highest level of competition a SN judoka can currently reach. We wish the boys the very best of luck, we are all extremely proud of their dedication to judo and training efforts.
This year's event in Athens runs from June 25 to July 4 and will involve 7500 athletes from 185 Nations. The British squad will compete in 17 out of the 22 sports disciplines offered including aquatics, athletics, badminton, basketball, bocce, cycling, equestrian, football, golf, gymnastics, judo, kayaking, powerlifting, sailing, table tennis, tennis and ten-pin bowling.
To follow the Richard and Alex's results and for further details please look at the Special Olympics official games site http://www.athens2011.org/en/index.asp and also on the Team GB website http://www.specialolympicsgbteam.org.uk/2011-world-summer-games/
by Suzi Kirkpatrick