Gary O’Sullivan Selected for Abu Dhabi Special Games

International athlete, Gary O’Sullivan has just been selected as the only Kerry representative on the Irish Special Olympics World Games Team for Abu Dhabi next March. Gary is pictured with his grandmother, Mary O’Sullivan (right) and an equally proud neighbour, Margaret Mitchell. ©Photograph: John Reidy
2011 Special Olympics World Games Team Ireland Volunteer members: Breda O’Donoghue (left) with Rosaleen Higgins and Gary O’Sullivan’s aunt, Stacey O’Sullivan pictured in their Team Ireland uniform. ©Photograph: John Reidy
Team Ireland 2011 volunteers: Rosaleen Higgins (left) and Stacey O’Sullivan, Castleisland and Catriona Dowling, Ardfert with Sam (left) and Tim Shriver at the Special Olympics World Games in Athens.

Earlier this year, Castleisland Special Olympics athlete, Gary O’Sullivan had dreams of winning a medal for his team at the national championships.

The championships were held in Dublin over four days from June 14th. and Gary competed as part of the Kerry Stars Special Olympics Club and his specialties were the 4kg Shot Putt and in the 400m walk.

Dan Lyons Delivered

Gary won gold for the Kerry team in both competitions.

His dreams soared after ‘the nationals’ and he couldn’t wait for news of last week’s Irish team selection for the World Special Olympic Games in Abu Dhabi next spring.

Mid week brought the news he had dreamed of. Gary had been selected to represent Ireland in his pursuits at the Sport Ireland National Sports Campus Conference Centre on Saturday July 14th and Dan Lyons delivered the all-important letter during the week.

Delighted of Course

“I’m delighted of course to be selected for the Irish team and people are coming up to me and shaking hands and congratulating me. It’s great and I’m the only one to be selected from the Kerry team.

“I was hoping a couple of my Kerry team-mates would be going as well – but I’m looking forward to getting there and doing my very best for Ireland,” said a delighted Gary.

When he’s not training for the next competition involving the ‘Kerry Stars’ Gary can be found keeping goal for the Castleisland AFC B team and, indeed, acting as a water carrier at games for the club’s A side and doing any other job the club asks of him.

Hugely Important

Hosting the World Games next March is hugely important to the organisers in Abu Dhabi.

Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 is scheduled for March 8th to 22nd will be the largest sports and humanitarian event anywhere in the world.

It will see a participation of over 7,000 athletes and 3,000 coaches representing more than 170 Special Olympics teams from around the world.

Most Unified Games

Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 will be the most unified games in history and promises to offer an inclusive experience for those with and without intellectual disabilities.

Incidentally, Gary O’Sullivan’s aunt, Stacey O’Sullivan was a volunteer when the World Special Games were held in Athens in 2011.

Meet the Schrivers

Two other Castleislanders accompanied her, on the Irish voluntary team in the Greek capital that year, Breda O’Donoghue and Rosaleen Higgins.

In the course of the games there they met members of the famous Kennedy political dynasty, Sam and Tim Shriver whose parents were very involved in securing the games as a fixture on an international and permanent basis.

Get Behind Gary

As Gary O’Sullivan will be obliged to raise funds for his trip, there will a ‘Get Behind Gary’ movement launched in Castleisland shortly and anyone with fundraising ideas will be welcome to get involved. We’ll keep you posted.

About the Kerry Stars

The Kerry Stars Special Olympics Club was formed in September 2002 by a group of families.

Its objective was and still is to provide athletes with special needs the opportunity to be productive and respected members of society through participation in an all year round sports and competition programme. This in turn creates a more positive self image, inclusion, enjoyment and new friendships for the athletes.

There is, at present, 50 athletes in the Kerry Stars Club and they come from the Killarney, East Kerry and Mid Kerry areas.


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