Heroes welcome for local Special Olympics medal winners

March 25, 2019

Triumphant Special Olympics sporting stars were given a heroes welcome on their return from the World Games in Abu Dhabi on Thursday, laden with medals.

Four local athletes, Fergal Gregory, Megan McElherron, Peadar Cowan and Conor McClorey all reaped glory at the global games. The four were part of Team Ireland’s 91-strong squad of athletes and are members of Newry City AFC Special Olympics Club, which is particularly thrilled that all four club members earned a podium place following their outstanding performances in Abu Dhabi. 

Culloville athlete Fergal Gregory, clinched a bronze medal in the Singles Tourist Kayak 500m race, which took place at the Abu Dhabi Sailing and Yacht Club.  Fergal is delighted to add to his Olympic medal haul, which includes a gold medal in the previous World Games in Athens in 2015.   

Culloville athlete Fergal Gregory takes bronze in Kayaking at the World Special Olympic Games last week

Bessbrook athlete Megan, who scooped both gold and silver in Equestrian, returned to her home village to a rapturous welcome. The 18 year old clinched her gold medal just days after winning a silver medal in the working trials event. She then came fourth in her final event, dressage.

Megan McElherron with her gold medal.

Newry swimmer, Peadar Cowan, beat his bronze-winning performance in the 2003 Dublin World Games by collecting silver on Tuesday in the 200m backstroke.

Connor McClorey, the first Ulster athlete to qualify for the Open Water Swimming section, took a bronze in the 1500m and rounded off a successful games in fifth position in the 800m Freestyle.  Connor’s latest medal follows his gold at the National version of the race in Dublin last year.

The local athletes’ achievements come as part of a 91-strong Special Olympics Team Ireland, which scooped 30 gold medals, 29 silvers and 27 bronze at this year’s Games, marking the most successful year ever for the Irish team. 

Peadar Connolly picks up silver during the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi.

Congratulating all the local athletes and volunteers, Newry & Armagh Sinn Féin  MP Mickey Brady, said the four local athletes had “brought great pride and joy to their families, communities, coaches and sports clubs. 

“The medal winning performances of Megan, Conor, Fergal and Peadar have been outstanding, congratulations to you all”.