by Craig Wright
Stirling will host the Special Olympics Anniversary Games in August 2018, with the university campus set to host the majority of the sporting events on show.
Officially unveiled at a launch at the Stirling Court Hotel earlier this afternoon, the games will see over 1400 athletes with intellectual disabilities from across the UK and Europe compete in a range of sports, in an event to mark both the 40th anniversary of Special Olympics GB and the 50th anniversary of the wider Special Olympics movement.
Athletes will compete in nine sports, including football, boccia and cycling, across four days of competition, with the event running from Thursday 9 – Sunday 13 August.
In addition, all athletes and coaches will be accommodated on campus, with every event free to attend for members of the general public.
Speaking about the news, Gerry McCormac, principal and vice-chancellor of the university, said:
“We are delighted that the University of Stirling will host the Special Olympics Anniversary Games in August 2018.
“As Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence, Stirling is proud to be affiliated with this event, which celebrates the excellent work of the Special Olympics in transforming lives through the joy of sport while striving to end discrimination.
“At Stirling, we’re proud that the work of our staff, students and alumni makes a tangible difference to people’s lives around the world – and that’s clearly a passion we share with Special Olympics. As a keen sports fan, I am looking forward to seeing some of the wide range of sports – including swimming, cycling, football and table tennis.
“We look forward to giving the 1,200 athletes, their families, support staff and fans a warm Stirling welcome when they arrive on campus next year.”
Karin Wallin, CEO of Special Olympics GB, echoed the sentiments of McCormac.
“We are thrilled that Stirling and its University’s excellent facilities will be hosting our very special Anniversary Games in August 2018” she said.
“This will not only celebrate our 40th anniversary in Great Britain and 50 years of Special Olympics worldwide but also give over a thousand Special Olympics athletes the chance to compete in a prestigious Games and make new friends and memories.”
Double Olympian and former University of Stirling swimmer Robbie Renwick has thrown his weight behind the event, saying:
“Participating in sport gave me the best experiences in my life. Putting in hard work and seeing results is a great feeling. Sport brings people together and that’s exactly what Special Olympics does every day for people with learning disability.”
The event will also feature a Fan Zone and Family Zone, hosted at the university, during the four days of competition.
More information on the games, including the application process for volunteering, will be released in due course.
Thursday 9 August – Arrival / Opening Ceremony
Arrival of Special Olympics Teams and Special Olympics GB Anniversary Games 2018 Opening Ceremony
Friday 10 August – Divisioning & Sports Competition Day 1
Saturday 11 August – Sports Competition Day 2
Sunday 12 August – Sports Competition Day 3 & Closing Ceremony
Special Olympics GB Anniversary Games 2018 Closing Ceremony
Monday 13 August – Teams depart