THE GB delegation of 157 athletes and 58 volunteer coaches are making final preparations for the Special Olympics World Summer Games, the largest multi-sports event in the world in 2011.
Some 7500 athletes representing 185 nations will participate in the games being held in Athens from June 25–July 4.
GB Special Olympians and volunteer coaches and staff from England, Scotland and Wales converged on the town of Runcorn recently for a weekend of training and camaraderie prior to their departure to compete at the largest sporting event in the world this year.
Disability Sport Fife has two athletes in the 157-strong GB team - golfer Caitlin Dodds from Elmwood College and athlete Owen Miller from Dunfermline.
Elmwood lecturer Craig Martin is head coach for the golf section of the team and has been helping Caitlin with her preparations for the past two years.
Each team member has had to raise £2000 to participate.
Fund-raising for Caitlin and Owen was co-ordinated by Disability Sport Fife, which has acknowledged the support received from the Rotary Clubs of St Andrews, Cupar, Howe of Fife, Dunfermline, Anstruther, St Andrews Kilrymont and the University of St Andrews Netball Club.
DSF president Richard Brickley said: “DSF involvement with the Special Olympics movement dates back to the late 1970s,and organisations and individuals from throughout Fife have made it possible for Fife athletes and players with a learning disability to compete in Special Olympics Games all over the world.
“DSF has been able to identify top quality Special Olympians and coaches over many years to compete and sample the unique experiences of major games.
“The three ambassadors for Athens 2011 are exceptional in so many ways and their contribution to Team GB will be far reaching.”
The British squad will compete in 17 out of the 22 sports disciplines, including aquatics, athletics, badminton, basketball, bocce, cycling, equestrian, football, golf, gymnastics, judo, kayaking, powerlifting, sailing, table tennis, tennis and tenpin bowling.
The team will be accompanied by 58 volunteer coaches and support staff.