After an enforced break due to Covid, the National Special Olympics Gibraltar Games are back this week for the first time since 2019. With the usual international competition provided by the Isle of Man, whose team arrives on Wednesday, the Games begin at 6pm Wednesday evening with the now familiar Opening Ceremony, Law Enforcement Torch Run and Athletics competition, but which for the first time this year will take place at the very impressive new facilities in Lathbury.
The following morning at 9am, the football competition begins at the Special Olympics Sports Complex, with the Algeciras football team joining the Isle of Man and Gibraltar. Another innovation this year will be a bocce tournament between Gibraltar SOG and Isle of Man athletes which kicks off at 5pm on Thursday at the Bayside complex tennis court, where the teams will compete for the inaugural presentation of the memorial Paula Poggio. Shield. Paola was a popular SOG pétanque coach and committee member who was a mainstay of Special Olympics in Gibraltar for many years and sadly passed away earlier this year. The Shield will be presented in his memory to the team with the most total points.
Friday morning bowling competition begins at 9 a.m. at Kings Bastion Recreation Center, with the final event being the swim at 6 p.m. Friday in the GSLA Pool. As usual, proceedings will end with the closing ceremony at the pool, followed by a barbecue for the athletes, family and volunteers at the retreat centre.
Special Olympics Gibraltar National Director Annie Risso said: “After such a long break, which no one wanted and which was very frustrating for our athletes, it is great to be back in international competition. We would like to remind everyone that the events are all open to the public and we hope to see as many families, friends and supporters as possible to cheer on our teams. Events begin Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Lathbury Sports Complex.