As the final countdown begins to the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Abu Dhabi, Special Olympics Gibraltar are currently gearing themselves up for the challenge with intense training in the seven sports in which they will be competing. This week the squad selected to represent the Rock was announced and includes 19 local athletes with 13 coaches and officials.
The Games, which are billed as the largest sporting and humanitarian event in the world this year, will involve around 7,500 athletes from at least 170 nations, who will be participating in 24 different sports. They take place from March 14th to the 21st in 16 world-class venues throughout the United Arab Emirates. Four years ago at the last World Summer Games in Los Angeles the Gibraltar team brought home a haul of medals, which included our first ever medals in open water swimming and golf, and they will be looking to do the same again this year.
The squad selected consists of:
Mark Dos Santos
Open Water Swimming:
Darren Grech (unified partner)
Julian De Las Heras
Derek Stefan Luise (unified partner)
Kellianne Peliza, James Danino (athletics), Keri Morgan (equestrian), Andrew Ramage, Albert Bruzon (golf), Ana Maria Golding (swimming) Mark Chichon (open water swimming), Paola Poggio (bocce), Graham Coles, Leslie Martinez (bowling).
Annie Risso (Head of Delegation), Caine Sanchez (Assist. Head of Delegation), Sandra Netto (medic),
Many family members from Gibraltar have already committed to go to the Emirates to support the athletes. The team will be enjoying some acclimatisation and training in Dubai before the games start and hope to have some time to explore some of the local tourist attractions. As with all World Games there is expected to be very impressive and star-studded opening and closing ceremonies, which will be broadcast live around the world.