Olympics World Games 2003
countdown to the Special Olympics World Games 2003 is now entering
its final stages. The venue is nearing completion, the volunteer
team is in place and going through the final stages of their job
specific training whilst the athletes are in full training and preparation,
eagerly awaiting the games. For the athletes this is their 'finale',
having been selected to represent their delegations following local,
regional, and national games since the last World Games held in
the Gov. James B. Hunt Horse Complex, North Carolina, four years
ago. For the athletes, the volunteers and the games organising committee
there is only one chance to deliver a unique and unparallel sporting
and cultural experience for all involved.
goodwill expressed in the locality and equestrian world is now being
realised and is truly amazing to witness its evolution. This feeling
of goodwill will be carried out throughout the country during the
games and will make the occasion a highlight of many people's lives.
Indeed for Kill International Equestrian Centre this will be the
first competition to be held in the purpose built venue.
own personal experience of the games started four years ago when
I travelled to North Carolina to observe what would be expected
in 2003. My first involvement in organising the games was when we
ran the National Games last June, an experience that I cherish.
It was unique the way that the volunteers, strangers before the
game, came together to perform whatever was asked of them. The sense
of enthusiasm, warmth, dignity and respect in a sporting capacity
was one that I never had experienced before."
the closing awards ceremony last June I had to leave the arena before
saying a few words of thanks because I had a lump in my throat.
Looking around the arena at the athletes, their parents, families,
friends, coaches and volunteers, you could only start to begin to
understand what this meant to them and in turn understand the true
meaning of the word 'special'".
us at Kill International it is a pleasure and indeed a privilege
that the equestrian events of the Special Olympics World Games will
be the first competition to mark the opening of the 'Kathleen Flannelly
Memorial Arena'. Mum was always renowned for her hospitality and
warmth, and this will undoubtedly be mirrored by the welcome everyone
will receive from the volunteer team from the moment they enter
the Olympic complex."
new Olympic complex has been built adjacent to the old centre which
the Flannelly family took over nearly thirteen years ago. The old
centre has now been demolished to make way for a 52 townhouse development,
'The Stables', which will be launched in July. In turn this has
financed the new set-up which sees the livery barn, competition
barn, tack rooms, work stations, solariums, three indoor arenas,
bar restaurant, changing rooms, showers, club rooms, offices, receptions
all under one roof. In addition there are two new outdoor arenas,
the riding school barn and a horse walker.
are extremely proud of our new facility which will benefit the sport
for many years to come. Anyone who has seen the facility to date
have been impressed but for now the focus remains on providing these
facilities to deliver the best ever athlete focused games"
the venue is only one ingredient in achieving this goal. The team
to deliver the games in Kill is made up of 500 volunteers with a
wide range of skills and experience. Indeed by last autumn Kill
was one of the first venues to be over-subscribed with over 800
volunteers selecting Kill as their preferred venue. There is also
the matter of our 100 'four legged' volunteers which have now been
finalised. Over the past two years Shirley McDermott, Sports commissioner
for 2003 has tried and tested hundreds of horses from all round
the country in order to select the most suitable horses for the
equestrian events in Kill will see 138 athletes from 22 delegations
taking part. Each athlete may enter into three competitions, which
include English equitation, working trails, dressage, prix caprilli
and gymkhana games. The matching process for the athletes will take
place on 19th, 21st, 22nd June. At this point the coaches have the
opportunity to select from a pool of horses the most suitable for
their athlete. This is then followed on 23rd June by the divisioning
process which grades the athletes into various competition levels
of ability before competition begins on Tuesday 24th June. At this
point it is envisaged that competition will run through the week
until Saturday lunchtime.
ceremonies will take place at lunch after the morning session and
in the late afternoon after the afternoon competitions are complete.
Throughout the week there will be various demonstrations and entertainment
during the mid-day interval whilst following the Friday afternoon
awards ceremony there will be a parade of all the volunteer horses
in way of acknowledgement to the horses and their horse owners for
their valued contribution.