Team Ireland depart for Special Olympics World Games

Team Ireland Depart For Special Olympics World Games
Special Olympics Athlete Ailís Colgan pictured with her cousin First Officer, Shane Kiely in the cockpit of Aer Lingus flight EI 69. Photo: Robbie Reynolds
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James Cox

Seventy-three Team Ireland athletes began their journey to the 2023 Special Olympics World Games on Monday.

Excitement was in the air as they were welcomed to Dublin Airport by Aer Lingus ground operations, cabin crew and flight operations teams ahead of boarding Aer Lingus flight EI 692 bound for Dusseldorf


Team Ireland are travelling in style, which commenced with a warm send-off at Dublin Airport involving supporters, family and friends, and Aer Lingus staff members.

The journey continues the partnership between Special Olympics Ireland and Aer Lingus which began with the 2003 World Games in Ireland, which was the first World Games to be held outside of North America.

The athletes commence their German adventure with a stay in the host town of Bielefeld in the North-Rhine Westphalia region from June 12th to 15th. After four days of training and cultural engagement, they will travel to Berlin where the games will commence with the Opening Ceremony in the Olympiastadion on June 17th. Team Ireland will compete in 12 sports; athletics, basketball, badminton, bocce, bowling, equestrian, football, golf, gymnastics, kayaking, table tennis, and swimming.

Taking place between June 17th and 25th, the Games will be the largest sporting and humanitarian event in the world this year.


Aer Lingus Cabin Crew Members, John Rhys Donohue and Megan Byrne pictured with Sean Sammon, Caroline Murray (coach), Amanda MacAllister, Fiona Brady, Fiona Farrell (coach) members of Team Ireland Tennis Team in Terminal 2 at Dublin Airport. Photo: Robbie Reynolds

James Co

Supported by a volunteer management and coaching team of 36, the 73 Team Ireland athletes will join 7,000 Special Olympics athletes from 190 countries at the Games. With family and friends making the trip to support their loved ones as well as representatives from Special Olympics Ireland, Team Ireland will be supported all the way.

Local Irish support including from the Irish Embassy in Berlin will be present. A team of volunteers from Ireland will also be on the ground helping to keep the Games running smoothly, continuing a proud tradition of the Irish volunteer contingent making an outsized contribution to World Games.


Chief executive of Special Olympics Ireland Matt English said: “We are delighted to wish Team Ireland well as the 73 athletes and 36 coaches and management team members travel to Germany for the World Games in Berlin. Participating in the Games is an achievement in itself and I know that each individual will make their loved ones, clubs, and their country very proud.

"The Games are an important reminder of how sport can be life-changing and community-building, and we want to thank our supporters and partners for helping to make Team Ireland’s dream a reality. We want to thank our impressive volunteer contingent for supporting our athletes."

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