Elmwood College’s Special Olympics team have recently been selected to participate in the GB Special Olympics in 2009.
The team consisting of 14 students and two coaches will enter the swimming, golfing, netball and athletics categories. Elmwood Lecturers Craig Martin and Debbie Lochhead will be assisting the students during the event as sports coaches. Having helped in this years Shanghai games, they are looking forward to helping develop further skills for the students.
Held every four years, The Special Olympic Games provide Olympic style sports competition for learning disabled athletes across Great Britain. Over 2,700 athletes are expected to participate in the games next year, which will be held at sporting venues across the city of Leicester between the 25th to the 31st July 2009.
Commenting on his selection, Craig said: "Finding out I have been chosen to coach the Olympic team again is a moment I will cherish all my life. I want to be able to help the students go as far as possible in the competition. I don't want anyone to think this is a whirlwind for the students. This has all been part of the gradual progression made by their hard work and dedication. They fully deserve this acknowledgement."
Debbie said, “These games give young people with a disadvantage the chance to really shine and gain a wonderful sense of achievement. Through successful experiences, athletes can gain confidence and build positive self-images, which go with them into their homes, classrooms, jobs, and communities.”
Recently the team flew out to the Shanghai Olympics with Craig, who worked exceptionally hard to get his Great Britain golf team ready, all his work was done on a voluntary basis. This was the first time Elmwood staff and students participated in the international event.
Head of Unit Tracey Wight said, “The Student Development unit has been working on the development of physical activities to improve the overall learning experience for our students. We ensure the students get as wide a selection of activities as possible as well as inviting them to participate in tournaments and competitions, including inter college tournaments and national golf competitions. Securing places within the Special Olympics, shows that these teaching methods really have had a positive effect.”
She continued, “Craig and Debbie bring a diverse range of skills to the team and the students are benefiting from their extensive knowledge of the sector. I am delighted that our students and staff will be flying the Elmwood flag again!”