The Eastbourne branch of Special Olympics GB picked up an impressive 23 medals at the two-day Special Olympics National Indoor Athletics competition earlier this month.
Special Olympics Eastbourne is now in its tenth year and thriving more than ever. They took twelve athletes to the national competition in Picketts Lock and came back with four gold, 15 silver and six bronze medals, plus five participation ribbons.
The Picketts Lock Stadium is a relatively new sport facility in London that will be used as a training track for the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.
The competition is held every two years with over 200 athletes competing from across the country. The Eastbourne team enter track events ranging from 60m to 800m, relays and field events such as long jump, standing long jump and shot put.
Special Olympics Eastbourne was formed in 2002 for anybody over the age of eight with learning disabilities.
Now the Eastbourne organisation is officially recognised by Special Olympics GB and specialises in track and field athletics, with occasional football training sessions.
The members compete in events across the region and also the occasional national event, like the recent Indoor Championships. Each athlete has their own membership number that records their results from every competition they enter, which enables them to track their progress against other young people of similar ability.
More than the medals they collect along the way, Special Olympics Eastbourne aims to provide a fun and friendly environment for athletes with learning disabilities who have the same enthusiasm today as the group of students who inspired the creation of the organisation a decade ago.
They will be hosting a medal meeting at Eastbourne Sports Park on May 20 between 11:30am and 4pm. Eastbourne residents are encouraged to come along and support the team as they compete against 180 other athletes with learning disabilities.
For more information on the organisation, visit their website at www.specialolympicseastbourne.org.uk.
EASTBOURNE’S Special Olympians line-up for the camera