The Special Olympics World Games Opening Ceremony took place in Berlin last night.
Some 7,000 athletes competing from around the world celebrated the opening in the Olympic Stadium in Berlin.
Every two years, the Special Olympics hosts athletes with intellectual disabilities competing across 26 summer sports, including athletics, bowling and table tennis.
Some 73 athletes are competing for Team Ireland between June 17th and June 25th in 12 sports, including athletics, badminton, bowling and football.
Special Olympics Ireland was formed in 1978, and the team has won several titles - including 86 medals at the 2019 Special Olympics in Abu Dhabi.
Volunteers have also travelled with the Irish team to Berlin to attend to competing athletes.
“This means a lot to me,” volunteer Angela Dunne told Newstalk. “I’ve volunteered for 21 years, so it means a lot to me.”
“I like to give something back – that’s why I do it. I've always felt like I want to give something back and give up my time.”
Special Olympics worker Kate Pollock raised £3,000 to travel to Berlin with the Irish team.
“I want to thank everybody who donated for me - I was fundraising from last September,” she said.
— Henry McKean (@HenryMcKean) June 17, 2023
Ms Pollock previously ran a Special Olympics club in Belfast but has since retired and currently works in the Special Olympics Ireland office.
“I want to give an awful lot back because I have such a brilliant family – they helped me get here, and an awful lot of other people helped me get away here.”
The Special Olympics was formed in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver to support adults and children with intellectual disabilities to compete in sports.
It provides year-round training and activities to 5 million participants and Unified Sports partners in 172 countries.