St Albans and Harpenden athletes win gold and silver medals at international sporting competition
PUBLISHED: 17:10 07 April 2019
Athletes with learning disabilities from St Albans and Harpenden have brought home a treasure trove of medals from an international sporting competition.
Special Olympics St Albans sent seven athletes to Abu Dhabi to compete in the Special Olympics World Games this March.
Skye Westwood, Tom Ward, Philip Nicholls, Lucy Warne, Thomas Miller, Damir Davies and Daniel Bernard were part of the 128-strong team representing Great Britain in the competition, which attracted 7,500 athletes from 200 countries.
All of the local talent came home with a medal in their respective sports - football, judo, swimming, equestrian and basketball.
The Team GB football team, including players from the St Albans City Youth and St Albans City FC teams, won a gold medal after triumphing three-one against Australia in the final.
Footballer Tom Ward said: “It was a great experience, and I would love to do it all again. Everyone was so friendly and helpful.
“It gave me a chance to meet lots of people from other countries and has given me confidence to try new things. A big thank you to my coaches and everyone who helped us.”
There were also three trainers from the St Albans branch at the World Games - badminton assistant coach Nikhil Shah, football assistant coach Liam Dwyer, and basketball head coach Simon Jackson-Turner.
Equestrian gold medallist Lucy Warne said: “It was the most amazing, unforgettable time of my life.”
Thomas Miller won two golds and a silver in equestrian. He said the experience was “life-changing”.
St Albans coach Nikhil said: “It was an incredible experience and one I will never forget. Coaching at a World Games was always an ambition of mine and it taught me a lot.
“The Special Olympics Great Britain team did incredibly well and it was a pleasure to be part of the team.”
He thanked both the organisers and the hosting country, United Arab Emirates.
Swimmer Philip Nicholls won both silver and gold: “I had a really brilliant time and I made lots of new friends from lots of different countries.”
The competition, which is held every four years, was on March 14 to 21.
Special Olympics St Albans provides weekly training for 150 children and adults with learning disabilities around the district.