Special efforts result in a clutch of gold

By Ian Dipple Friday 20 September 2013 Updated: 20/09 08:54

THERE was a gold rush for Redditch’s Special Olympians as they returned triumphant from the National Summer Games in Bath.

The ten strong squad scooped an incredible 25 medals - including 15 golds - as 1,700 athletes with learning or intellectual disabilities came together from across Great Britain to compete for glory in 12 sports.

The standout performer for Redditch was 33-year-old Richard Daykin who won seven golds in his sport of gymnastics including the floor, parallel bars and pommel horse. He was closely followed by Rachelle Darling who won five golds, also in gymnastics.

Redditch’s success in the gymnastics competition was continued by Chris Finch who took three silvers and a bronze, while Shane Dennis grabbed a silver in the floor event.

The softball throw and 200 metres yielded two bronze medals for Kevin Holloway while Stacey Everill improved on her bronze in the shot with a silver in the 50 metres.

Laurie Brooks and Jonathan Wedgbury struck gold in the softball throw and 100 metres events respectively while Jessica Hiles was also celebrating a gold medal in the standing long jump to add to her silver in the softball throw.

Daniel Whitmore also put in a creditable performance finishing fifth in both the 50m freestyle and 50m backstroke.

Sarah Duffin, chair of Redditch Special Olympics, said: “The standard of competition was extremely high and our team from Redditch did incredibly well to come back with so many medals, and all of them represented our group but also the town so well.

“It’s important we celebrate people with learning disabilities, and the Games are not only a chance for them to show us just what they are capable of and get the recognition they deserve for their training, but also an opportunity to socialise with others at what is a really enjoyable event.”

The group’s efforts were also recognised in Parliament by Maria Miller, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport in response to a question by Redditch MP Karen Lumley.

Mrs Lumley said she was absolutely delighted by the achievements of Redditch’s ‘tremendous ten’.

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