Special Olympics Ireland Winter Games
The Special Olympics Ireland Winter Games will take place in Northern Ireland for the very first time this March.
Over the 20th to Sunday 22nd March, these Games will see almost 200 athletes compete in two winter sports – alpine skiing and floorball.
These three-day residential Games are the qualifying event for the Special Olympics World Winter Games.
With athlete representation from the 5 Special Olympics Ireland regions – Ulster, Leinster, Munster, Connaught and Eastern Region, the Winter Games will showcase the skills and dedication of the athletes who have been training hard to progress through the selection process.
Supported by a team in excess of 70 coaches and official delegates, the Ireland Winter Games, more than 150 volunteers are also signed up to ensure the athletes experience a high-quality Olympic style competitive event.
Floorball, a game similar to ice hockey but played on a court, has seen a huge increase in participation numbers in recent years in part thanks to the success of Team Ireland at the 2017 World Winter Games in Austria. Special Olympics Ireland are very excited that a team from all regions will compete at the Ireland Winter Games in Northern Ireland for the first time.
Floorball competitions will take place on Saturday and Sunday 21st and 22nd March at Lagan Valley Leisureplex in Lisburn, Co Antrim.
While Ireland may not be renowned for its snow coverage, the 40-strong Alpine Skiing squad have achieved success in previous Games and will display their skills on the dry slopes of Craigavon Golf and Ski Centre.
Alpline Skiing competition will take place on Saturday and Sunday 21st and 22nd March at Craigavon Golf and Ski Centre in Co. Armagh
“We are looking forward to hosting the Games in Northern Ireland. This is a fantastic opportunity to bring the largest Ireland Winter Games to date to Northern Ireland and I have no doubt the region will support the event to make it a huge success.” Director of Sport, Karen Coventry, Special Olympics Ireland.
The Games will include a Law Enforcement Torch Run with members of the Police Service of Northern Ireland and An Garda Síochána prior to the Opening Ceremony on the Friday 20th March.
Healthy Athlete Programme at the Games
Athletes competing at the Games will also be able to avail of Healthy Athlete Programme. This programme, delivered by experienced healthcare professionals, offers screening in various disciplines including Healthy Hearing, Special Smiles, Opening Eyes, FUNFitness, Fit Feet, Strong Minds and Health Promotion.