'˜An experience to remember' as Games begin

AS the World Athletics Championships continues apace in London, Yorkshire will begin its own celebration of sport with a star-studded opening ceremony tonight.

Britain's Got Talent star Kyle Tomlinson helped athletes launch the Special Olympics event at Bramall Lane, Sheffield, in July. PIcture: Glenn Ashley.

The Special Olympics GB National Summer Games takes place this week in Sheffield, starting with an Olympic-style opening ceremony at Bramall Lane that will see an athletes’ parade followed by performances by Tony Hadley, James Toseland and Kyle Tomlinson.

The Games are held every four years and will be the biggest disability sports event in the country in 2017. It is the tenth time the event has been held, and the second time it has been held in Sheffield - the first was in 1993.

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More than 2.600 athletes will compete in 20 sporting categories over four days of competition at 15 venues, and there will be a Fringe Festival with art exhibitions, live performances and the opportunity to take part in a mass participation artwork.

Leader of Sheffield Council, Coun Julie Dore said: “Sheffield has been preparing for the Special Olympics GB Games for more than two years and we are so excited that the time has finally arrived.

“With 7,000 of the athletes’ friends and families coming to Sheffield – not to mention the 2,600 athletes – there’s a real buzz about the city this week.”

Special Olympics GB CEO Karen Wallin said: “We are sure that the great city of Sheffield will provide a very successful and hugely memorable event and backdrop for our athletes, their families, coaches and volunteers.

“Our Special Olympics GB athletes will remember this National Games experience forever.”