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Lothian Disability Sport News

News & Updates from Lothian Disability Sport

Lothian Special Olympics Host Memorable Festival of Sport

Lothian Special Olympics Host Memorable Festival of Sport

Lothian Special Olympics hosted a Multi Sports Festival for Special Olympics Athletes from across Great Britain, welcoming a massive ten regions to participate in a wide range of activities on the weekend of 26th and 27th September.

Athletes from as far as Yorkshire and Humberside were given the opportunity to participate alongside their peers in Boccia, Carpet Bowling, Judo, Netball and Swimming.  There was also a fun football competition which saw staff from Blackrock Wealth Management take on the LSO football players.  The event also saw opening and closing ceremonies each day, with the sessions beginning with Special Olympic Athletes entering with the flame and concluding  with all athletes being recognised for their considerable efforts as they deservedly received medals or ribbons.

The weekend saw the ‘Festival of Sport’ take over Dalkeith School Campus, using three games halls, outside aesthetic pitches, swimming pool amongst others spaces as 163 athletes and 28 coaches and team managers enjoyed a wide range of sports – while officials, family and friends also enjoyed the outstanding atmosphere throughout the weekend.

LSO and Blackrock have been working in partnership for the previous number of months to provide this opportunity for the Special Olympic athletes.  Blackrock recently chose Lothian Special Olympics as their charity of the year and have been able to offer financial support to the organisation, providing the platform for the volunteers of LSO to plan, co-ordinate and deliver the ‘Festival of Sport’. 

The amount of work that was undertaken in the build up and on the day of the event should not be underestimated and huge credit should be given to the whole team that was involved in the hugely successful weekend.  Elaine McKenna, the recent recipient of the Elspeth Watson Trophy at the Scottish Disability Sport Annual Awards for her devotion to disability sport, continued this incredible work and was delighted with the teamwork, commitment and enthusiasm on display throughout the weekend.  The effort was there for all to see and this was clearly reflected in the faces of the athletes, coaches, family and friends of the Special Olympic community.  Roll on next time……………

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Lothian Coaches and Athletes Recognised by Scottish Disability Sport

Lothian Coaches and Athletes Recognised by Scottish Disability Sport

Stirling Court Hotel provided the new home for the Scottish Disability Sport AGM this year, attracting a record attendance with around 150 athletes, coaches, volunteers, branch members, representatives from governing bodies all present to hear the work that SDS have been successfully undertaking over the last 12 months.

SDS Chair Janice Eaglesham was elected into the position for another three years and carried out the formalities of the evening, while SDS CEO Gavin McLeod praised the incredible success of the Scottish athletes over the last year while highlighting the huge number of International events that Scottish athletes have attended.  Events such as the IPC World Swim Championships recently held in Glasgow and the Special Olympic World Games held in Los Angeles over the summer months.  Another International event where Scottish athletes excelled was the CPISRA World Games, held in Nottingham during August.  The games were re-introduced after a 10 year break and Race Running coach and part of the Scotland coaching team for the event, Peter Drysdale gave an insight to the games.  Peter has been instrumental in the development of Race Running in Scotland over the last couple of years and provided a background into the sport and the plan for the future while also touching on the development of the games.

Formalities and presentations were followed by the annual awards ceremony, recognising the outstanding achievements of the athletes, coaches and volunteers across the country.  This year, Lothian were extremely well represented amongst the awards with both athletes and coaches being recognised for the significant work and level of achievement they have produced over the last 12 months.  Lothian Disability Badminton Coach Lyndon Williams was recognised with the SDS Plaque in recognition of support given to disability sport in Scotland while Lothian Phoenix coach Tina Gordon picked up the Russell Hogg Trophy for Development Coach of the Year.  Elaine McKenna (Lothian Special Olympics) was recognised for her devotion to disability sport for the past 22 years, receiving the Elspeth Watson Trophy.  Winning Wheels Wheelchair Tennis player Ruairi Logan was presented with the Russell Hogg Bursary to further support his development on the court.  The Edinburgh based player has recently represented Great Britain at the World Cup in Turkey and finished runner up at the Sainsbury's School Games in Manchester a couple of weeks ago.

This topped off a great evening for Lothian athletes and coaches and highlights the incredible work that is going on in the region through providing and developing opportunities to participate in disability sport.

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Lothian Athletes and Coaches Excel at World Games in Los Angeles

Lothian Athletes and Coaches Excel at World Games in Los Angeles

Lothian Special Olympics World Games Report

6 athletes, 1 Unified Player and 4 Head Coaches coaches from Lothian Special Olympics, joined the rest of the Scottish contingent at Edinburgh airport on Monday 20 July to fly to London.  After 3 long years of planning, training and getting to know each other, the atmosphere was electric and excitement was hitting the roof.

On arrival in London, the 48 athletes and 20 coaches from Scotland, joined up with the rest of the GB team and for the first time, we all put on our tracksuits and became TEAM GB.  The whole GB team consisted of -  112 Athletes, 5 Unified Partners, 19 Head Coaches, 22 Coaches, 5 support team members and 34 management. 

The people of our host town, Calabasas could not have made our stay with them anymore enjoyable, they were extremely friendly, and couldn’t do enough for us.   We trained each morning and just acclimatised ourselves to the very hot Californian weather.  On the last evening, the whole town turned out at the King Gillette ranch and put on a hoe down for us, with a huge BBQ, an excellent bank, old Wells Fargo stage coach, this was one of the highlights of our stay,  teaching us line dances, we taught them Strip the Willow.  Many friendships between the Team and the People of Calabasas will I hope continue long after we come home.

On the Friday, we travelled back to LA, were we were all taken to the British Ambassadors residence, again we were treated to a lovely afternoon of food and entertainment, meeting a few celebrities, like Audley Harrison,(with his gold medal)  and Isaac C Singleton, of Pirates of Caribbean fame.

Settling in to our athletes villages on the UCLA and the USA university sites, we were then able to start thinking about the competitions ahead.  Some of the sports started their heats on the morning of the opening ceremony, finishing at lunch time so we could get ready and be taken by bus to the Millennium Coliseum for the opening ceremony.  Walking out as Team GB was one of the most proud and dare I say the loudest experience I have ever witnessed.   For the first time we were able to say hello to family members who had travelled to LA to support us.

The opening ceremony was very emotional with very inspiring speeches from people like Michelle Obama, entertainment was from artists such as Stevie Wonder and Avril Lavigne. 

From the following day, most of the sports started to compete, or at least train.  From the very word go, at the competition, GB athletes started to excel.  I am delighted to say that Michelle Moran won the very first medal for the GB team, which was Silver in her individual 50m Breatstroke.  From then medals came in thick and fast.

From the  68 Golf medals, 69 Silver Medals and 42 Bronze Medals that the GB team returned home with.  Lothian Special Olympics athletes won –

Bocce                    Colin Robertson                   5th Individual Comp and Gold in Doubles

Ten Pin Bowling    Richard Cooke                      Bronze Individual Comp, Bronze Pair Comp and Bronze Team Comp 

Judo                      Kathleen Inglis                      Bronze in Individual Comp

Football 11s          Dean Lawrie                         Gold in Team Comp

Unified Football     Jack Bell                                Silver in Team Comp

                             J o Van’t Hoff (Joe is our football coach who went to LA to play in the Unified competition as an athlete)

Swimming              Michelle Moran                   Silver 50m Breastroke, Bronze 50m Freestyle and Gold in Freestyle Team Relay

Total of

3 Gold Medals

2 Silver Medals

5 Bronze Medals

I am sure you will agree that the LSO athletes surpassed all expectations and once again rose to the challenge making us all the Proudest coaches in the Country.

The Head Coaches who were also part of the GB Team from Lothian were, Jamie McDonald Golf, Elaine McKenna Footballs 11s, Jo Imrie Judo and Yvonne Anderson Swimming.  These guys were selected as Head Coaches because of their commitment, dedication and knowledge.  LSO are very proud to have coaches of this calibre and extremely proud that they were able to inspire and lead our athletes into a very successful World Games.

Mirren McDonald was also part of the GB team in the role of Family Liaison, a very difficult role to hold as there were a number of problems with transport throughout the games, Well done Mirren on all your hard work.

The closing ceremony was held on Sunday 2nd August, this was a more relaxed affair, again held in the Millennium Coliseum, Entertainment from singers such as Carly Rae Jepsen, the athletes and coaches were able to dance the night away, enjoying all the friendships they had made with people from across the world.

In total there were 7,000 athletes in LA 22 sports, 177 countries this made this the biggest sports event anywhere in the world this year.

What can I say but well done to all the Lothian athletes and coaches who were part of this,  you did us all proud.

Yvonne Anderson - Chair, Lothian Special Olympics 

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This section will include all the latest news and updates on disability sport across the Lothian region - information on Regional and National events can be found in the Event Section of the website.

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