City to host Special Olympics 2013
Athletes from across the country will descend on Bath for the 2013 Special Olympics.
The National Summer Games event will bring together sports people with learning difficulties from all over the country next August.
Organisers at Special Olympics GB – the largest charity providing year-round sports training and competitions for people with learning difficulties – are keen to build on the momentum of this summer's Paralympics.
The games will take place from August 28 to September 1, with more than 1,700 athletes taking part in 12 disciplines, including athletics, football, golf, table tennis and swimming.
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The Sports Training Village at the University of Bath will host the majority of the events.
The athletes will be supported by 500 voluntary coaches, another 500 volunteers and an estimated 5,000 family members at the games, which are held every four years.
Special Olympics GB chief executive Karen Wallin said: "This is a very significant sporting event and will require a large amount of assistance and energy from the local population to ensure the most successful and memorable event possible for our athletes, their families and the city."
Almost 1.2 million people in the UK have an intellectual disability and the games aims to show off their skills, and boost their self-esteem.
Special Olympics GB director of sports Andy Heffer said he was looking forward to the games coming to Bath.
He said: "The Special Olympics doesn't really get enough attention, and not many people know about it.
"We want to raise the profile, and coming somewhere like Bath, which has such a high profile for sports is key to doing this.
"I am excited about bringing the games to this world heritage city."
The Special Olympic movement was founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the sister of US president John F Kennedy.
Special Olympics GB serves more than 8,000 registered athletes through almost 150 volunteer-led clubs in the UK.
Deputy leader of Bath and North East Somerset Council and cabinet member for neighbourhoods Councillor Dave Dixon (Lib Dem, Oldfield) said he was delighted to welcome the games to Bath.
"It is great that the city is becoming well known for our sporting achievements, and the inclusivity that is demonstrated in sports and active lifestyles in our area.
"I know that the events next year will be well received and I look forward to welcoming the special Olympians to our city next year."
For more information visit www.specialolympicsgb.org.uk.