Extraordinary Energy at Team Eastern Launch

Making your way towards the National Indoor Arena, something seems different. The natural solitude and general calm of the area on a normal Wednesday afternoon feels disordered. There is a new energy in the air, and it’s getting stronger the closer you get to the state of the art sporting facility. Something is happening. Something big. Something blue. Something special. The closer you get, the clearer the white print across the light blue flags becomes. “Special Olympic Eastern Region”, it reads. And it dawns on you, between the high fives and excited ‘hellos’ amidst an incredibly friendly atmosphere that you have arrived at the fourth Special Olympics Ireland Games team launch.

Team Eastern held their launch Wednesday evening, in the Sport Ireland National Indoor Arena. 401 athletes from Team Eastern attended with their coaches, chaperones and family members. The event is the first time the whole delegation were together for the first time as a group and kitted out in their Team Eastern gear. They were first directed to a professional photo shoot, were a photographer took their pictures in their various sports groups before some of them were interviewed  to reveal some insight into their training, preparations  and excitement of representing their Region at Ireland Games in a mere 2 weeks on June 14th.  The consensus amongst all interviewees, appears to be ‘to have fun’ and try your best.

Before the speeches the delegation took part in a few dance routines, led by their ever energetic and enthusiastic coaches, chaperones and volunteers. Many of whom impressed with their moves, YMCA and the Cha Cha Slide were serious crowd pleasers!

Mick Feehan, Regional Chairperson for Eastern Region was the guest MC at the event and he got the 401 athletes engaged and making enough noise to raise the roof of the Arena!

Mayor of Fingal, Mary McCamley was present and took the opportunity to acknowledge the vital work of the volunteers of Special Olympics Ireland. In her capacity as Mayor she has been promoting 2018 as the year of the volunteer and the effort put in to the launch event, let alone the 80 Team Eastern training sessions over the past few months.

Also speaking was Rebecha McAuley. A badminton player on Team Eastern Rebecha has also been supporting the marketing and PR side of the Games in her capacity as “Athlete face of the Games”. She has attended many events and given plenty of speeches spreading the word about the Games. Speaking to her fellow team mates two weeks out from the biggest sporting of the event of year was no bother to this strong and personable sports star.

Quotes were shared during the speeches, from some of the athletes that will be attending then Games in June. Lorcan Byrne who will be competing in football was quoted by Head of Delegation Lorraine Bracken “Go out as a team, play as a team and come back as a team”. Inspiring words that were received by hundreds of nodding heads and cheers of agreement from everyone in the hall.

As the night drew to a close the realisation started to settle in that the next time we are all gathered back on the National Sports Campus it will be Friday 15th June and competition will be starting. The excitement felt at Team Eastern launch will no doubt carry through to Opening Ceremony and the weekend of the Games.

1,600 inspiring athletes will storm the Dublin venues to participate in 13 sports this summer. Launches similar to this one in the National Sports Campus, have taken place across the country.

Special Olympics Ireland would like to extend an invitation to the people of Ireland, to come visit the Games in June. The largest sporting event in Ireland in 2018 will run from Thursday 14th until Sunday 17th of June. This family friendly event is completely free and take place in venues all across Dublin. For more information please visit www.irelandgames.ie.