Swords Basketball Club will this weekend officially launch their joint venture with Special Olympics Ireland to help local athletes with intellectual disabilities to take part in the sport.
The launch will take place at ALSAA on Sunday, February 23 at 3.30pm and will set a seal on the club’s commitment to support Special athletes in the Fingal area and provide them with the opportunity to participate in year-round sporting activities in their local community.
The club will also provide training for area, regional, all-island and World Games level participation in the sport through the Special Olympics competition programme.
The club have identified the intiative as a great opportunity for the future of the club, and Swords Basketball Club secretary Paula Corr explained how the link-up came about when she spoke to Gazette Sport last week
“Prosper Fingal [the county’s support organisation for people with intellectual disabilities] were coaching Special Olympics basketball players in the area, but they wanted to join a mainstream basketball club. They approached Swords Basketball Club to see if we would be interested in getting involved, and we said yes.”
The club now have some 20 athletes already registered and training in ALSAA (on Mondays at 7pm for ladies, and Thursdays at 7pm for their men’s teams), and the new arrangement is hoped to provide a huge benefit to those in Swords with an intellectual disability.
“The players are now a part of the Swords Basketball family, they have joined up with the club, take part in training sessions, and join up with the non-intellectually impaired players for training sessions as well,” said Corr.
“It’s a matter of inclusion, being part of a group and no one is separated because they are not considered so-called normal. We are very much inclusive in Swords, we don’t turn anyone away. Having the Special Olympics team is just another aspect of what we do. There’s no reason why the athletes could not be included. It’s all about the game.”
For more information, log on to swordsbasketball.com or find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/Swords-Basketball-Club/211320522279548
The 2014 Special Olympics Ireland Games will take place in Limerick from June 12 to 15, where 1,500 Special Olympics athletes from across the country will take part in 13 sports.
Special Olympics is calling on people to volunteer to help ensure the the successful staging of the games.
All of the available opportunities as well as venue and games information is available at www.specialolympics.ie.