Special Olympics to open in Limerick

Up to 2,000 people to take part in opening ceremony

Up to 2,000 people will take part in the opening ceremony of Special Olympics Ireland

in Limerick today.

As part of the build-up to the games, 1,500 athletes and coaches from across Ireland will take part in a parade along O’Connell Street before the opening ceremony in the People’s Park.

The parade will include the Special Olympics Torch Run Team, marching bands and street performers.

It starts below the Shannon Street junction on O’Connell Street at 6pm. After going along O’Connell Street, it will turn on to Mallow Street and into the People’s Park for a ticketed opening ceremony, featuring traditional band Kíla, among others, at 6.30pm.

During the games, which run until Sunday, 1,500 athletes will compete.

As well as being the main residential centre, University of Limerick will host the athletics, aquatics, basketball, football, gymnastics, kayaking competitions and non-competitive motor activities training programme.

Across the city, the Tailteann Sports Centrewill host badminton and table tennis while bocce is in Delta Sports Dome. Other venues include Clonshire Equestrian Centre, Murroe Pitch and Putt and Ballykisteen Golf Club in Tipperary. Ennis Leisure World will host the 10-pin bowling.

Matt English, Special Olympics Ireland chief executive, said Limerick people had shown "extraordinary support".