Four Laois athletes have made the trip to Greece this week as part of the Irish team competing in the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens.
Patrick Doyle (Portlaoise), Mark Whelan (Mountrath) along with Darren Farrelly and Teresa Maguire (Portarlington) made the trip to the famous city as part of the 126-strong team of athletes competing at the games from Ireland.
Teresa Maguire heads into the championships with an impeccable pedigree, having won three medals at the World Summer Games back in 2003 for kayaking. She has over 20 years of experience to bring into the games, and picked up a further two medals last year at the Irish Games in Limerick.
Laois will have two representatives in the five-a-side soccer team, with Patrick Doyle and Mark Whelan lacing up their boots as part of that squad. It will be a new experience for Doyle, who will make his international debut for Ireland at the games, although he’s already shown his ability at the top level after winning gold at the Irish Games last year. Patrick is joined on the team by Mark Whelan from Mountrath, another athlete excited by the prospect of representing his country. Mark has already show himself to be a multi-talented sportsman, having picked up a number of medals across a variety of disciplines at last year’s Irish games.
The fourth member of the group is Portarlington’s Darren Farrelly, who will take his place on the eleven-a-side team. Darren continues the trend amongst the Laois athletes of past success, having won gold at the Irish games in 2006 before going on to win gold at the World Games in Shanghai the following year. He picked up a bronze medal at the Irish games last year.
The games get underway this Saturday, June 25, and run through to July 4.