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Special Olympics
History of the Special Olympics
By Carmel Dooley
14, Jun 2003 - 10:11

History of Special Olympics

Special Olympics is a year round sports training and competition programme for children and adults with a learning disability. It began in 1963 when Eunice Kennedy Shriver started a summer day camp for children with learning disabilities at her home in Maryland, USA. The purpose was to explore their capabilities in a variety of sports and physical activities. From this start, she has been a leader in the worldwide struggle to improve and enhance the lives of individuals with a learning disability for four decades.

The 2003 Special Olympics World Summer Games

This is the first time that this major event will be held outside the USA. It is the largest sporting event in the world this year with 7,000 athletes and 2000 coaches from 165 countries travelling to Ireland. Castlebar Host Town committee is delighted to be hosting the Venezuelan team of athletes for training, rest and fun prior to the actual games which will be held in Dublin.

Castlebar Host Town Programme

The Venezuelan delegation consisting of 157 athletes, coaches and officials and will arrive in Castlebar on the night of Monday June 16th. They will be accommodated in Lough Lannagh Village and the Traveller’s Friend Hotel. A full programme of events and activities has been planned for the athletes during their stay. On Tuesday morning they will go shopping and visit places of interest around the town. Wednesday and Thursday morning sees the Athletes getting in some training in venues such as An Sportlann, GMIT, Mayo Leisure Point, Travellers Friend Hotel, Breaffy House Hotel and Castlebar Swimming Pool. In the afternoons the delegation will visit Turlough House, attend workshops in the Linenhall Arts Centre and the Vocational Training Unit and play bowling in Mayo Leisure Point. Night entertainment includes a Civic Reception and Irish night on Tuesday night, a disco party on Wednesday and fireworks and a farewell party on Thursday night.

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