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Govt urges community to rally round Special Olympics National Games

Minister for Equality Samantha Sacramento and Minister for Sport Steven Linares joined forces yesterday calling for support for the forthcoming Special Olympics National Games, which are to be held in September.
At a press conference held at Minister for Equality’s office at Governor’s Parade, Samantha Sacramento announced that the Ministry for Equality was launching an initiative to promote the National Games this year.
Under the banner of “Meet the determined” the campaign will be looking at creating greater awareness of the Games which are held annually in Gibraltar.
The press conference was attended by Minister for Equality Samantha Sacramento, Minister for Sports Steven Linares and Special Olympics Gibraltar’s National Director Annie Risso.
Mrs Sacramento called on Gibraltar’s sports enthusiasts and community to join in supporting the event as she highlighted that Gibraltar had already “proven that as a nation we love sport and support our athletes.” Adding that she was “sure we can do the same for Special Olympics athletes.”
Her calls for greater support towards the annual Special Olympics National Games were also echoed by Minister for Sport Steven Linares who put his full support behind the initiative led by the Ministry for Equality.
Explaining at how he had been “wowed” by the “attitudes” and “friendships” seen in international Special Olympics Games he had attended Mr Linares highlighted that as a nation “we should recognise that these are the athletes who bring back the most” referring to the successes of Special Olympics Gibraltar in the international stage.
“We owe it to them,” he said as he called for the public to “please come out and support them and cheer them on.”
The games which will be held between September 18 and 21 will see Special Olympic athletes from Gibraltar compete against their counterparts from the Isle of Man, Barbate and Iceland. With other associations also expected to participate.
Athletes will be taking part in swimming, athletics, football and bowling events as in other years. Also included in the programme of events will be golf which will see participants playing at San Roque Golf Club. The Spanish club offering its green fees for free so that the event can take place.
Speaking at the press conference Special Olympics Gibraltar’s National Director Annie Risso highlighted the importance of getting the support from the public as she explained that the athletes “were not on display” but “showing their strengths and wanted to be there.”
The same athletes, she explained liked to perform for the crowds supporting them and not just the families and friends.
Mrs Risso welcomed the initiative launched by the Minister for Equality which met with one of the objectives of Special Olympics internationally where organisations had been called upon to try and achieve recognition and support from their country’s Government.
Something she indicated she would ensure was known had been obtained in Gibraltar.
The Special Olympics Gibraltar National Director also pointed out that he organisation already had a “future vision” for bigger Games and bigger events. Although not yet discussed, the association was already looking at planning to bring bigger international events to Gibraltar in the future using the new sports facilities which were being created.
This including the new Special Olympics sports hall which is due to be opened for use. Minister Steven Linares indicating that the premises will be opened soon with only administrative work due to be finalised, this including provisions which will allow the facilities to be run by Special Olympics Gibraltar.