Irish skiers claim four more medals at Special Olympics

Cyril Walker presented with silver medal by Arnold Schwarzenegger

Co Armagh’s Cyril Walker was presented with his silver medal by Special Olympics ambassador Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Co Armagh’s Cyril Walker was presented with his silver medal by Special Olympics ambassador Arnold Schwarzenegger.

 

Irish skiers claimed four more medals on Thursday at the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria.

On the final day of competition, Team Ireland took two gold, one silver and one bronze on the slopes of Schladming.

It brings to eight – two gold, three silver and three bronze – the number of medals claimed by the Irish skiers this week.

They have had an amazing time – it has been so much fun. I just can’t believe it – I cried buckets.”

There was a special treat for Co Armagh’s Cyril Walker – who silver medallist in the Novice Slalom. The 46-year-old was presented with his medal by Special Olympics ambassador Arnold Schwarzenegger. Laoise Kenny impressed with fourth place in the slalom while Niall Flynn had a fine outing in the Alpine Super Glide.

In the Intermediate Slalom, it was double gold for Ireland, with Lorraine Whelan (36) from Co Wicklow and Seán McCartan (16) from Co Down taking the top podium spots in their respective divisions. Co Antrim’s Caolan McConville (13) claimed Bronze.

Laoise Kenny, a member of Kilternan Karvers Special Olympics Club, from Monkstown, Co Dublin, with her sister Caoimhe at Schladming-Rohrmoos, Stadthalle Graz, in Graz, Austria. Photograph: Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Laoise Kenny, a member of Kilternan Karvers Special Olympics Club, from Monkstown, Co Dublin, with her sister Caoimhe at Schladming-Rohrmoos, Stadthalle Graz, in Graz, Austria. Photograph: Ray McManus/Sportsfile

“Some of the guys have never been at a World Games before, including Seán and Caolan, who’s only 13 years of age,” said Team Ireland Head Ski Coach, Jill Sloan. “The medals they have achieved are incredible. We can’t ask for any more. They have had an amazing time – it has been so much fun. I just can’t believe it – I cried buckets.”

Lorraine Whelan, from Co Wicklow, said her “first run went really well. I listened to everything my coach said. The trick is to let the skis run and then turn and then use your poles at the end.”

Commenting after Cyril Walker’s silver medal success, his sister Valerie said the whole family were proud of his achievements: “We have had a fantastic week and we have had great fun. Cyril has done us so proud. His timings are getting quicker every day – he has done magnificently.”

Team Ireland’s floorball squads capped a week of top-class action with their final play-off games in Graz. Team 1 will be awarded fourth place at Friday’s medal ceremony after losing 5-3 in a thrilling game against Switzerland.

George Fitzgerald, (3), a member of Waterford Special Olympics Club, from John’s Hill, is congratulated after he scoring a goal during the Floorball play-off game with Switzerland in Graz. Photograph: Ray McManus/Sportsfile
George Fitzgerald, (3), a member of Waterford Special Olympics Club, from John’s Hill, is congratulated after he scoring a goal during the Floorball play-off game with Switzerland in Graz. Photograph: Ray McManus/Sportsfile

And – in a nail-biting finish – Team 2 secured a 6-4 victory over Argentina for fifth place in their division, providing a thrilling close to the day’s action.

AS Alpine Intermediate Slalom Finals

Division F07: Lorraine Whelan, 1st (01:51.48)

Division M08: Seán McCartan, 1st (01:40.41)

Division M03: Caolan McConville, 3rd (01:38.82)

AS Alpine Super Glide

Division M2: Niall Flynn, 3rd (00:31.77)

AS Alpine Novice Slalom Finals

Division M04: Cyril Walker, 2nd (01:13.30)

Division F07: Laoise Kenny, 4th (02:38.87)

Floorball Team 1

Ireland 2-15 Sweden

Ireland 3-5 Switzerland

Floorball Team 2

Ireland 6-4 Argentina