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Countdown to Berlin World Games for Special Olympics Gibraltar

As the final countdown begins to the 2023 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Berlin, Special Olympics Gibraltar athletes are training hard for the challenge, in the eight sports in which they will be competing. The squad selected to represent the Rock was recently announced and includes 27 local athletes, including four unified partners, with 16 coaches and officials.
The Games will take place from 17th to 25th June in Berlin with the squad leaving Gibraltar on the 12th June for initial acclimatisation days in Bavaria before the Games, and returning to the Rock on the 26th June. The Games, which are billed as the World’s largest inclusive sporting event, will involve around 7,000 athletes from 190 nations, who will be participating in 26 different sports. They kick off with the much anticipated Opening Ceremony in the magnificent Olympic Stadium, originally built for the 1936 Olympic Games and now one of the most modern stadiums in the World. At the end of the games the Closing Ceremony will be held at the iconic Brandenburg Gate. Four years ago at the last World Summer Games in Abu Dhabi the Gibraltar team brought home a haul of medals and they will be looking to do the same again this year.

The squad selected consists of:-

Athletics:- Marvin Zammit, Daniella Vinent, Mark Dos Santos, Gino Francis

Swimming:- Stephen Balban, Sallyann Mauro

Cycling:- Francis Mauro (Jnr)

Bocce:- Dorian Zammitt, Miguel Rubio

Golf:- Julian De Las Heras, Ivan Gomez Mannion, Nicholas Payas, Charles Zammit

Bowling: Shane Martinez, Patrick Slater

Equestrian:- J.J. Buttigeig, Glen Wimbleton

5-a-side Unified Futsal:- Gianni Ochello, Giovanni Yeo, Jansen Gilbert, Jeremy Prescott, Francis Avellano, Sam Hook, Sean Negrette – unified partner, Stefan Figueras – unified partner, Callum Smith – unified partner, Edward Victor – unified partner

Coaches:- Silvija Desoiza, Steven Walker (athletics), Keri Morgan (equestrian), Andrew Ramage, Ricardo Santillan (golf), Christine Bugeja (swimming), Francis Mauro (Snr) (cycling), Henry Danino (bocce), Leslie Martinez, Anthony Slater (bowling), Brian Fernandez, James Danino, Jeremy Baldachino (futsal).

Officials:- Annie Risso (Head of Delegation), Michael Mauro (Assist. Head of Delegation), David Martinez (medic),

Along with the announcement of the team SO Gibraltar has started raising funds for the trip and have launched their popular sponsor-an-athlete campaign giving local businesses an opportunity to connect directly with the Games. Businesses can choose an individual athlete to support and follow in the competition whilst providing valuable financial assistance at the same time. Quorum Business Solutions have become the first sponsors of an athlete by sponsoring Francis Mauro in the cycling event. There has also been a significant donation from the San Roque Golf Club. There are a lot of costs associated with trips such as these and SO Gibraltar is appealing for funds. Businesses or other groups who wish to help are asked to contact Annie Risso on mob:-58008973 or email or Marisa Henrich on 54008179 (
“Many family members from Gibraltar have already committed to go to Germany to support the athletes. The team will be enjoying the acclimatisation and training in the towns of Oberhaching and Taufkirchen before the games start and hope to have some time to explore some of the local attractions. As with all World Games the Games have attracted a lot of international publicity and will be broadcast live around the World.”

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