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.
Huddersfield’s Joanne Kempley is a World Champion swimmer. She swims with the Borough Of Kirklees additional needs squad and along with 6 other team mates will be representing Yorkshire & Humberside later this month in the Special Olympics GB National Summer Games.
Joanne has been selected by Games sponsor Coca Cola to be the face of swimming for the advertising campaign and her image along with the official video – ‘Let Me Win’ – that showcases 12 of the 1700 inspirational athletes taking part in the Special Olympics GB National Summer Games will be shown on giant screens and billboards in London’s Piccadilly Circus.
The Special Olympics GB National Summer Games run from August 28th to September 1st in Bath, you can find out more and follow progress of the athletes by visiting their official website HERE
We hope you will join us in getting behind ALL the athletes taking part in the Games but especially our home grown talent from right here in Huddersfield! GO TEAM GO!!
Ruben, Joanne, Ben & Rebekah swam with the Borough of Kirklees Disability Team this weekend at the Down Syndrome European Swimming championships that took place in Southampton.
All our swimmers came away with medals.
From left to right – Rebekah took 3 golds and a bronze, Joanne won 2 golds and a silver, Ben achieved an amazing 5 golds and a silver and Ruben swam his way to 1 gold and 1 silver. A pretty impressive haul guys!!!
I bet coach Gemma was very pleased!
As you know several of our talented swimmers are representing Yorkshire & Humberside in the Special Olympics Summer Games that will take place in Bath in August.
We are super thrilled and proud of Joanne Kempley who was chosen from many applicants to represent her sport by having her image used throughout the Special Olympics Summer Games, her dad took this great photo of her getting ready for her photoshoot that took place this week in London.
Jo will grace billboards, posters and promotional material in the run up to and during the Special Olympics.
HDSSG are immensely proud of all our talented swimmers. Well done to all of you, and as always special thanks to the wonderful coaches at Team BOK.
Our fabulous youngsters swam with the Borough Of Kirklees special needs team yesterday at the Hull Special Olympics Swimming Gala.
The day was a huge success with team BOK bringing in a haul totalling 18 medals!
The guys and gals managed 8 gold, 6 silver and 4 bronze along with 2DQ’s, 1 speeding ticket and at least 9 personal bests all happening over 21 races – tremendous result!
Your coaches Eddie & Gemma (pictured) must be so proud!
Huge congratulations as always from Huddersfield Down Syndrome Support Group.
The sessions will run from 4 pm till 5pm at the John Smith’s Stadium in Huddersfield and one parent/carer will need to enter the water with their child.
The first class will take place on Saturday 9th March 2013. Contact the stadium for more information and to check availability.
Huddersfield Down Syndrome Support Group would like to congratulate our swimmers who took part in the Special Olympics Yorkshire & Humberside Regional Swimming Gala that took place in Harrogate this weekend.
Aisling Connelly, Ruben Reuter, Rebekah Hill, Zoe Rank, Lily Baird, Alwi Flaye, Archie Bailey, Kai Watson, Jack Drennan all achieved brilliant results including 3 Gold, 2 Silver, 6 Bronze, 1 Speeding Ticket and several personal bests!
Well done all of you!
Team GB arrived in Loano, Italy, late last week for the World Down Syndrome Swimming Championships. Two Borough of Kirklees swimmers Joanne Kempley and Ben Sweeney are taking part in the competitions. (Pictured left along with coach Gemma Ripley)
The swimming kicked off today after an exciting opening ceremony where teams from 21 countries paraded the sports hall with their national flags.
Joanne was next and her task looked formidable as she had the slowest entry time in her heat amazingly she pulled out all the stops finishing 4th and knocking an unbelievable 6 seconds off her 100 metres Backstroke time.
Ben rounded off the morning with a 3rd place and European record in the 400m Individual Medley which secured him another gold in the Mosaic category.
HDSSG wish Joanne & Ben along with the rest of Team GB all the very best for the rest of the competition, we will be tweeting updates as we receive them! follow us @hdssg1
You can keep up to date with all the news from Loano by following a blog written by Joanne’s family who are out there with the team: http://kempley.webnode.com/blog/
Here is an inspirational story about a wonderful young lady as told by her mum, Christine Kempley.
What a day! Watching our daughter, Joanne, carrying the Olympic Torch in West Yorkshire on a sunny day in June it was difficult to remember back to the time shortly after she was born, when we were delivered the crushing news she had a major heart problem. Joanne was diagnosed with Tetralogy of Fallot when she was three months old, and underwent surgery to fit a shunt at six months, followed by successful open heart surgery at six years old. This transformed the life of our blue and out of breath little girl. From being unable to walk any distance, she learnt to enjoy exercise and took up swimming lessons which then led on to swimming in competitions.
She now leads a full and varied life. She is ladies captain of the Great Britain Down’s Syndrome swimming squad and has recently competed in Taiwan at the World Championships. Joanne gained a silver and two bronze medals in the ladies relay team. She will shortly be travelling to Italy for her next World Championship competition.
Joanne is an actor with the Dark Horse Theatre Company in Huddersfield and has appeared in local productions and also in an episode of the TV programme Shameless.
She enjoys working as a volunteer with a local Special Needs Toddler Group and has a lovely boyfriend whom she met through swimming. And so, it was with enormous pride that we watched our daughter carry the Olympic Torch in front of friends, family and supporters who have helped her throughout her 22 years. In her words she has an “awesome” life.
…Or should that be Stephanie Millward meets Ruben?! in his own words read all about Ruben’s day at Olympic Park:
“On September 1st I went to the Aquatics Centre at the Olympic Park. I met Stephanie Millward who won two silver medals and a bronze medal. she showed me around the Aquatics Centre and let me try her medals on. The medal was really heavy! I asked her lots of questions about swimming and asked her for some advice. She trains in the pool for 2 hours nine times a week and also trains in a gym. She told me to keep working hard at my swimming”