Day three of the Special Olympics World Games in Berlin sees Irish athletes compete in basketball and badminton.
Yesterday, Timothy Morahan was the first Irish athlete to win a gold medal at the 2023 Special Olympics in the 5,000 metres race.
Swimmer Eoin O’Connell also secured a bronze medal for Team Ireland in the open-water category and gymnast Jennifer O'Halloran, was awarded a bronze medal after her performance in the various rhythmic gymnastics disciplines.
Speaking to Newtalk's Henry McKean, badminton player Claire O Neill said she was "nervous" before the Irish vs Germany game, in which the Irish players secured a win.
Irish Special Olympics Badminton Coach Kim Mc Crave said: "It's fantastic – we're getting to meet new people, we're getting to play sports, and just celebrating being together again."
Representing Ireland in basketball, Irish players secured a win against the Swedish team.
"It was tough, I'm not going to lie. There's a lot of competitors and a good game," said player Anita Forde.
"I'm just happy that I'm representing Ireland and I scored a few baskets.
"It's been a long time waiting six months. I've been training since January and it's been a long time coming.
"I'm just really happy to be here today."
Cool, calm and collected. Team Ireland basketball ladies looking relaxed ahead of their match against Australia at 3.30pm today 🇮🇪 @chloefarrell95 @SOIreland @SOWG_Berlin2023 pic.twitter.com/w1Xt2gaGYw
— TeamIrelandBerlin2023 (@TeamIrlSport) June 20, 2023
Irish Special Olympics Basketball Coach Emmet O'Toole said: "We get the show on the road and we're looking forward to the week ahead."
"The girls have put in a massive effort, so in the next week, they get to showcase what they're about."
Henry McKean reported that the games are run with the help of 22,000 volunteers.
"The Irish, as you know, are a fantastic country – we really support our athletes," said one volunteer.
"We're here with 73 athletes and to be here volunteering and supporting them, it's just amazing."
William Delaney, from Carlow, said he volunteered at the games because he has "a lot of family members and friends that support this organisation."
"I have a cousin with Down's Syndrome, so it means a lot to me to come and be able to be here whilst I live here."
John, who was attending his first Special Olympics World Games said he put attending the games on his "bucket list" when he became sick.
"Today my dream has come true," he said.
Henry McKean said the Special Olympics team in Germany are facing their "disgraceful" history with the Nazi regime's treatment of people with disabilities.
"The Germans are not hiding their Nazi past, they're openly talking about it," he said.
"Berliners and Germans are coming to terms with it – they're facing it head-on.
"This is one of the reasons why the Special Olympics is here and in Berlin, 80/90 years later."
Sports Ireland Chief Executive Officer Dr Una May said she takes pride "in the fact that Special Olympics Ireland is seen as one of the highest functioning Special Olympics programmes."
"That's a reflection of our attitude in Ireland and our openness and willingness to welcome and embrace people from all kinds of backgrounds and from all abilities to be part of sport," she said.
"You have put the past behind and they have done an amazing job – this is an absolute spectacle of organisation."
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