California sun continues to shine over Team Ireland

Special Olympics athletes claim another 11 medals bringing total haul so far to 33

Team Ireland’s Nuala Browne celebrates after winning a silver medal for finishing second in the 500m Race Singles Tourist, with Nicola Higgins who finished 5th and Rita Quirke,  who won bronze in kayaking. Photoraph: Ray McManus / Sportsfile

Team Ireland’s Nuala Browne celebrates after winning a silver medal for finishing second in the 500m Race Singles Tourist, with Nicola Higgins who finished 5th and Rita Quirke, who won bronze in kayaking. Photoraph: Ray McManus / Sportsfile

 

Team Ireland continued to shine in sunny California on Thursday as athletes won another eleven medals at the 2015 Special Olympics in Los Angeles. The four gold, two silver and five bronze medals bring to 33 the total number of medals secured by the team so far in this year’s games.

The Equestrian team continued its winning streak with 37-year-old Elizabeth Mair from Rathfarnham, Dublin winning her second gold medal after coming first in the dressage section of the competition. John Deevy (38) from Kilmeadan in Waterford also won gold in the dressage.

The Irish kayak team were out to win on Long Beach, with Nuala Browne (33) from Strabane in Co Armagh claiming a silver medal in the 500m. There was further success for the kayak team as Rita Quirke (54) from Rathangan, Co Kildare won bronze in the same rice and teammate Nicola Higgins finished off in fifth place.

Quirke said she felt proud and happy to be bringing a medal home for the national team. “It’s my first time winning,” she said. “I’ll celebrate when I get back home.”

Athletics team member Timothy Morahan (21) from Rathmines in Dublin picked up a bronze medal in the 800m while Lisa O’Brien from Charleville, Co Cork will bring home two bronze medals from the 50m and 25m races.

Ruth Geerah (35) from Mullingar, Co Westmeath secured a gold medal in the singles bowling match and Anne Hoey (51) from Drogheda also claimed gold in her singles match. Liam Foley (17) from Enfield added to the team’s medal haul by winning bronze in the badminton singles.

The Irish basketball team made an impressive show on the court at the University of Southern California beating Ecuador 19-12, while the 11-a-side Irish football team beat India.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny sent his best wishes to Team Ireland by video on Thursday, saying it was “magnificent” to see Ireland’s proud athletes parade into the stadium at the Opening Ceremony.

“To represent your country at Olympic level is a fantastic achievement; very few people get a chance to pull on an Irish shirt at Olympic Games,” said Mr Kenny. “Your family and friends are very, very proud of you. We here at home are also very, very proud of you. You are representing your country with pride and distinction and we are all cheering you on.”

CEO of Special Olympics Ireland Matt English congratulated all the athletes on their success on the fifth day of the games, reminding participants that winning a medal for their country was a “tremendous achievement”.

The 2015 Special Olympics Games run until August 2nd, 2015 with Ireland competing in 12 different sports.

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