Special Olympics: Darren and Tony in seventh heaven with Special Olympics medal haul

Team Ireland's Darren McClatchey, from Banbridge, and a member of Banbridge Special Olympics Club, competing at the Bocce singles event in the Antwerp Expo. 2014 Special Olympics European Games. Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE
Team Ireland's Darren McClatchey, from Banbridge, and a member of Banbridge Special Olympics Club, competing at the Bocce singles event in the Antwerp Expo. 2014 Special Olympics European Games. Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE

Two local Banbridge athletes have scooped seven medals between them after competing at the 2014 Special Olympics European Summer Games in Antwerp.

Darren McClatchey (31) who competed in bocce and Tony Lunny (29) who competed in gymnastics were two of seven local Special Olympics Ulster athletes that represented Team Ireland in Belgium earlier this month (September).

Darren won a gold medal and bronze medal for individual bocce events and a further bronze as part of the bocce men’s doubles team; whilst Tony won four bronze medals and a 4th place and two 5th place ribbons in gymnastics.

Team Ireland spent just under two weeks in Belgium supported by an 18 strong management team. Collectively Team Ireland picked up a total of 57 bronze, silver and gold medals and some 140 family members travelled to Belgium to cheer on the athletes and ensure Team Ireland got the strong support it deserved.

Over the last few weeks, the city of Antwerp, Belgium has welcomed more than 2,000 Special Olympics athletes from 58 countries, as hosts of the 2014 Special Olympics European Summer Games, which ran 9-20 September.

Shaun Cassidy, regional director, Special Olympics Ulster said: “The Special Olympics European Games are amongst the most high profile sporting events in Europe this year and we are delighted with the fantastic achievements of the Team Ireland squad.”

Special Olympics Ireland CEO, Matt English added: “Special Olympics Ireland had an excellent time in Antwerp 2014 and to witness the talent and the huge support for these extraordinary athletes was amazing in itself; picking up so many medals was just the icing on the cake.”