Leicester Tigers, England flanker and Special Olympics Leicester ambassador Lewis Moody, met the stars of athletics today and presented medals to finalists of the 100m sprint.
Moody was flocked by fans wanting autographs and photos, he also received a huge cheer as he entered the athletes winners’ tent.
On his first visit to a Special Olympics competition Moody commented, “The athletic ability was absolutely outstanding and they are clearly enjoying themselves. They were even competing in the rain! This is a fantastic event not only for the athletes, their families and carers, but also for Leicester. I hope everyone gets to experience the spirit of Special Olympics.”
Sport highlights from day five:
The East Midlands swimming team have continued their impressive performance at this year’s Games with more medal success.
18 year-old Adam Meanwell won Golds in the 100m freestyle, 100m breaststroke and the 100m individual medley, adding to the 4 x 100m freestyle Gold he won earlier in the week.
After his victory, he said, “It was easy really. I just take each race as it comes.”
Adam also took part in the Junior National Disability Championships in March earlier this year. The event was hosted in Sheffield where he won six Golds and two Silvers.
Also counting the medals is Lothian swimmer Scott Quinn.
The 19 year-old from Edinburgh won Silver in the 100m breaststroke and in the 4 x 100m relay today, adding to his Gold in the 200m individual medley and Silver in the 100m freestyle earlier this week.
Scott said, “It’s been a really good week, meeting lots of new people. The volunteers have been superb.”
He went on to say, “The coaches have done a superb job too. It’s been tiring having to get up at 6.30am every day, but it has been totally worth it!”
There was a busy day of kayaking at Rutlands Water park today, despite the torrential rain!
West Midlands athletes Karl Wilson age 22 and Cameron Bentley age 12, one of the youngest Special Olympics competitors, raced for the first time together in the K2 500m, winning Gold.
Karl said, “I am so glad we won Gold today, it has made us both really happy.”
Both athletes also competed individually today. Karl was disqualified in the K1 200m for a speeding ticket but did achieve Bronze in the K1 500m. Cameron got Silver in the K1 200m and fourth in the K1 500.
East Midlands athletes Brendan Richardson, age 27, and Thomas Jackson, age 20, were also in action in today with Brendan winning Golds in his K1 200m and K1 500m race, whilst Thomas won Gold in his K1 200m race and Silver in his K1 500m.
Meanwhile, Special Olympics ten-pin bowler, Jonathan Frett from the South-Eastern region, scored 168, 149 and 128 in his three games today.
After the matches, Jonathan was feeling optimistic about the team’s chance for success this week.
He said, “The whole team is doing really well. We are going for lots and lots of Golds! Hopefully I can get a lot of strikes; it’s just magical to knock all those pins down in one.”
His mother, Sue Frett, is a dedicated volunteer and is actively involved with Special Olympics Surrey.
Jonathan was also part of Special Olympics British ski team for the World Winter Games in Idaho earlier this year, where he finished fourth and fifth in his respective competitions.
ACTION-PACKED DAY OF ATHLETICS COMPETITION AT SAFFRON LANE SPORTS CENTRE
Despite another day of rain, the athletics competition was in ‘full-swing’ at Saffron Lane Sports Centre.
Jordan Saxton from the West Midlands was supported by 11 family members today who braved rain and hail to see him win a Gold in the 100m.
His mum, dad, young sister, aunt, uncle and cousins brought homemade signs since he is deaf but cheered anyway when he crossed the finish line. Around his neck he proudly wore a gold horseshoe charm given to him by his Nan for good luck.
Another winning athlete was Anthony Ilott age 17 from St. Albans, a Special Olympics athlete since 2006. This is his first National Summer Games and has won two Silvers so far. This time last year, he needed assistance from an oxygen trolley for any strenuous activity, this year he competed unaided and made his family incredibly proud.
According to his mother, Sally, “He was born at 25 weeks with chronic lung disease, and he is learning disabled and deaf. Being part of Special Olympics has improved his quality of life and helped him get off the oxygen since May!”
Dewey Douglas 54 from West Midlands was thrilled to win two Silver medals in the 50m walk and 50m run today at athletics. Dewey took part in the lighting of the “Flame of Hope” at Much Wenlock, the home of the Modern Olympics.
He posed with the Flame along with legendary Olympians Robbie Brightwell MBE (athletics Silver medallist - 1964 Olympics), Ann Packer Brightwell MBE (athletics Silver and Gold medallist - 1964 Olympics), Tom Godwin (cycling Bronze medallist - 1948 Olympics), and Paul Anderson (SOGB Vice Chairman and sailing Bronze medallist – 1968 Olympics).
Other Sports Highlights:
Despite thunder, hail and black clouds, Special Olympics golfers played on!
George Brunt from the West Midlands won a Bronze medal today to place next to the silver medal he won for skiing in Boise Idaho as a member of the World Winter Games ski team.
George was also featured in a series of life-size sculptures by Charles Walker Hazzard who produced a series of sculptures depicting a young man with Down’s syndrome.
George played with two Scottish golfers, Stewart Braid and Scott Gennell who walked the fairway trying to teach him how to say with a Scottish lilt ‘ochay the noo’ which means ‘howz it going.’
History was made today with three girls competing in golf against the boys at the National Summer Games. Catlin Dodd from Fife who won Silver, Kelly Wishart who won a Bronze and Penny Kitchine from the Northern region held her own and were stiff competition for the boys.
The two Scottish girls attend Elmwood College next to St Andrews, and are often treated to time on the Old Course, along with schoolmate Graeme Andrews who won Gold today in 18 holes.
Elsewhere, the senior and junior netball competitions came to a close today at Soar Valley Community College. In the juniors, the Southern region won the Gold; the Silver went to Scotland West and the Bronze went to the Northern region.
Scotland West athlete in the junior competition, Annie Higgins age 14 is competing in her first national competition and has thoroughly enjoyed the Leicester Games.
She said, “I’ve enjoyed all of it! I loved going to clubs and meetings, making new friends and l particularly loved the shopping last night at Highcross!”
Meanwhile, in the seniors, Scotland West stormed to Gold, North West claimed the silver and the East Midlands won the Bronze. East Midlands athlete for the seniors, Miriam Lyne, age 42, daughter of Councillor Richard Wilson, took part in her last Special Olympics before taking up coaching.
Miriam has Downs Syndrome and has competed in four previous Special Olympics National Summer Games, and won a Gold in Glasgow and a Silver in Cardiff.
“I’m really looking forward to coaching at future competitions” she said. Miriam has been married for 17 years to fellow Special Olympics athlete, Stephen Lyne, who is competing in the swimming.
For all the latest results from the 2009 Special Olympics GB National Summer Games, click here