Our Borough Of Kirklees Special Needs Squad based at the John Smith’s Stadium in Huddersfield; their amazing coaches and families returned triumphant from the Special Olympic Summer Games today.
Jack Drennan, Aisling Connelly, Zoe Rank, Ruben Reuter, Joanne Kempley, Rebekah Hill and Ben Sweeney competed over 3 days at Hengrove Park Leisure Centre in Bristol. Along with coaches Gemma Hill-Wood and Ed Lim they were part of a team representing Yorkshire & Humberside at the Games.
The event began with the Athletes’ Parade, which saw 19 delegations from around Great Britain making their way to their seats near the stage.
1700 athletes, over 500 coaches, along with hundreds of Games volunteers and family members gathered for an evening of entertainment which included the appearance of Special Olympics GB Ambassador and actor Colin Salmon and singer Susan Boyle.
Thursday was day one of competitions and news was relayed back to HDSSG via the power of twitter from our fabulous supporting families. It wasn’t long before reports of our first medal winner came in, Ben Sweeney claimed silver medal position after an exciting finish in the 100m individual medley.
HDSSG’s phone nearly melted with the results coming in from the venue on Friday! Zoe was the first award winner from our Super Seven claiming 4th place in the first race of the day – we were off to a cracking start!
Zoe was swiftly followed by Aisling with another fabulous 4th place in the 25m backstroke, then Jack Drennan struck gold! There was little time to celebrate as Rebekah took bronze medal place in the 50m breaststroke and Joanne hit silver medal status too! Incredible! But we weren’t done yet. Another flurry of runner’s up ribbons, a glorious gold for Zoe, silver for Jack and the bronze & gold medals from youngest member of the team Ruben Reuter sealed our Fantastic Friday.
International swimming champion Joanne Kempley kept the medal count climbing ever higher on Saturday by taking silver place in her relay event. Ruben Reuter also placing in the relay on the last day of competition with another bronze medal. It was BOK swimmer Ben Sweeney who took things to another level setting a European Record in the 100m backstroke and claiming silver with a time of 1:24:03.
Over the 3 days of competition our 7 Borough Of Kirklees swimmers had amassed 14 medals, several runner up ribbons and some great PB times. An amazing achievement.
Joanne’s mum Chris Kempley made this fantastic four minute film to give just an insight into the time our team had at the Games.
You will also be able to see our Super Seven feature in BBC1’s Inside Out on Monday 2nd September at 7.30pm – TUNE IN!
HDSSG would like to thank the Games makers, our fundraisers, the BOK coaches our members and their families for making this Summer so inspirational.