Special Olympics European Games: GB team bid for medals

The GB team outside No 10 Downing Street
The GB team were at Downing Street before travelling to the competition in Belgium

A team of 49 athletes will represent Great Britain in seven sports at this month's Special Olympics European Summer Games in Antwerp.

The Games run from 13-20 September and will feature more than 2,000 athletes with intellectual (learning) disabilities from 58 countries.

"We are proud of each and every athlete and we know they will strive to be the very best they can," said Special Olympics GB CEO Karen Wallin.

"They will all try to bring home medals but, just as importantly, build new friendships and gain memories that will last a lifetime."

The Great Britain team will take part in athletics, gymnastics, badminton, judo, cycling, table tennis and swimming while the sports programme also features football, bocce and basketball.

Daniel Weston meets the Prime Minister
Daniel Weston was among those who met the Prime Minister at a reception at Downing Street before travelling to Belgium

Among those competing in Antwerp will be 22-year-old Daniel Weston from Barnstaple who was diagnosed with autism as a child.

He started cycling aged six, initially on a tandem with his father Patrick and in August 2012 won the 10km time trial in the Special Olympics Great Britain National Cycling competition and also finished third in the 15km road race in Manchester, which was Britain's biggest event this year for cyclists with learning disabilities.

He will race in the 15, 20 and 40 kilometre events in Antwerp and his mother Radmila is certain that the sport has made a huge difference to Daniel's life.

"Daniel's temperament has become a lot calmer since he took up competitive cycling," she said. "He used to present some very challenging behaviour as a child but his frustration and mood swings have been channelled into sport which has brought him a purpose and sense of well-being and helped him to develop and improve his communication skills."

GB SQUAD

AQUATICS: Emma Birley (Castlemilk, Lockerbie), Samuel Pattinson (Gretna, Dumfriesshire), Adam Meanwell (Grantham, Lincolnshire), Charles Culwick (Hawkwell, Essex), Kieran Neary (Benfleet, Essex), Scott Cleaver (Canvey Island, Essex), Ann-Marie Reid (Dundee), Dylan Thorburn (Tayport, Fife), Maria Orsi (Arbroath), Jacqueline Minchin (Ceredigion), Natalie Moon (Kingston upon Hull)

ATHLETICS: Fleur O'Donohue (Nuneaton, Warwickshire), Niall Finlayson (Cambusbarron, Stirling), Jennifer Power (Glasgow), Linzi Finnigan (Croftfoot, Glasgow), Alicia Bradshaw (Wagey, Worcestershire), Gary Starkey (Hoarwithy, Herefordshire), Edward Williams (Leeds, Yorkshire) Nicholas Mann (Norton, Sheffield)

BADMINTON: Catherine Carson (Hawkley, Wigan), Mark Goulder (Banks, Southport), Samantha Monk (Shevington, Wigan), Kerry Duncan (Arbroath)

CYCLING: David Jackson (Glasgow), Gary Winslow (Clydebank, Glasgow), Leanne Peters (Blanefield, Glasgow), Ruairidh Brown (North Allerton, East Kilbridge), Rosemary Hollingsworth (Shefford, Bedfordshire), Daniel Weston (Newport, Barnstaple, Devon)

GYMNASTICS: David Rae (Thornlie Bank, Glasgow), Georgia Carslaw (Castlemilk, Glasgow), Ramsay Meiklem (Kilbarchan, Renfrewshire, Paisley), Aaron Bonnar (St Saviour, Jersey), Alex Buesnel (St Saviour, Jersey), Cailiegh Quail (St Helier, Jersey), Chloe Russell (St Helier, Jersey), James Lang (St Helier, Jersey), Jessica Vieira (St Saviour, Jersey)

JUDO: John Kane (Peterhead, Aberdeenshire), Zoe Kane (Peterhead, Aberdeenshire), Holly Tadman (St Leonards on Sea, East Sussex), Thomas Farley (Peasmarsh, Nr. Rye, East Sussex), Daniel Amel-Azizpour (Bradley Stoke, Bristol)

TABLE TENNIS: Jennifer Turner (Wem, Shropshire), Jeffrey Jarvis (Trains Cheshire - lives Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire), Alistair Feltham (Winton, Bournemouth), Duncan Feltham (Winton, Bournemouth), George Gibson (Montrose, Angus), Emma Hunt (Bushbury, Wolverhampton)

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