Newspaper for Crossmaglen, South Armagh, Newry and Down.

Fergal sets his sights on Abu Dhabi for World Games 2019

Congratulations are in order for Culloville teenager, Fergal Gregory who has been selected to compete in the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi next March.

The World Summer Games, which are being hosted by a Middle East-North Africa region for the first time in its 48-year history, will feature seven days of competition in 24 sports, and will see an estimated 7,000 Special Olympics athletes and their 2,600 coaches arrive in the UAE capital early to acclimatise to the time zone and temperature.

Fergal will make the trip to the middle east along with fellow Newry City AFC Special Olympics athletes, Peadar Connolly and Connor McClorey, in March 2019.  All three qualified for the games after taking home gold medals at the Special Olympics Ireland games in June, with Fergal scooping two golds for Kayaking at the Dublin games.  

Nineteen year old Fergal is well known for his sporting prowess as a gold medal winning swimmer and for his open water swimming achievements over the last number of years.  He also hit local headlines in March this year when he was named Inspirational Young Person of the Year at the Youth and Future Talent Achievement Awards (YAFTAS). 

Proud Newry City AFC Special Olympics coach Esther King, extended a massive congratulations to the winning trio, praising them and the entire club’s dedication to training, that has helped them make it to the World Games. 

“The team that we have in Newry is just second to none,” said Esther.  “We’re so proud beyond words. It’s the pinnacle, everyone is over the moon.”

With the games just eight months away, the hard working coach says the team will put in some tough training and are making the most of open water and kayaking season to get in as much practice as possible.  Between now and then a number of fundraising events will also take place across the district to raise vital cash to fund new Kayaks for the team to compete on the world stage, as well as to pay for the delegation of coaches and volunteers needed to attend the games with the local athletes. 

The first of these fundraisers is a charity walk taking place prior to the Bessbrook Duathlon on Friday 3rd August. 

For more information or to help out as a volunteer for Newry City AFC Special Olympics Club, go to the club’s Facebook page.