Our stars shine in World Games

LOCAL Special Olympics athletes have played their part in a hugely successful World Games in Abu Dhabi for Team Ireland over the past week.

All turned in great performances with a number of them manging to reach the podium in a massive event that involved 7000 athletes from more than 170 countries.

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Omer Teko, a member of United Warriors Special Olympics Club, Stephen Murphy of Palmerstown Wildcats Special Olympics Club, and Knocklyon's Alan Power of South Dublin Special Olympics.

After several days of competition, the Team Ireland football squad, which included Daniel Byrne (19), from Lucan, Patrick Furlong (19) from Ballyfermot and Omer Teko (25) from Walkinstown captured bronze following their 7-2 victory over Estonia.

For Byrne and Furlong, this past week represented their first World Games experience while Teko had lined out for his country in the 2015 event in Los Angeles.

Tallaght woman Sally Duffy (42) of Festina Lente Special Olympics Club returned to the World Games stage for the first time since 2011 when she won gold and silver in Athens.

And she made it yet another memorable outing in the Equestrian field in 2019, with a silver medal in English Equitation and bronze in Working Trails.

What’s more, she picked up a determination medal after having been thrown from her horse during the competition.

Also adding two bronze medals to Ireland’s medal haul was runner Alan Power (50) from Knocklyon.

One of just eight competitors representing the country in athletics, the 50-year-old athlete finished up third in the 3000m and 5000m in what was his World Games debut.

The Team Ireland Men’s Basketball team, that included Palmerstown Wildcats stars Jamie Ennis from Clondalkin, Keith Murphy and Stephen Murphy and Oisin Gilmartin from Palmerstown together with South Dublin Special Olympics Club’s Tallaght trio of Thomas Coyle, Geoffrey Curley and Sean Winder, finished up fourth following their play-off against Switzerland.

In gymnastics, Rachel Murray (22) from Rathfarnham received bronze in the all-round athlete class while in doubles tenpin bowling, Michael Hardiman (29) from Tallaght combined with Padraig Reilly (37) from Hollywood, Co. Wicklow to land a sixth-place ribbon.

Also competing superbly for Team Ireland were Templeogue’s Eimear Gannon in Rhythmic Gymnastics and golfers John Keating also from Templeogue and Phyl Kelleher from Rathfarnham.

In all 91 athletes represented Ireland in what was the first time that the World Games have taken place in the MENA region

With the support of more than 100 volunteers and 350 family members, they competed in 12 different Olympic style sports, their selection coming after four years of training and competition.

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