Padraig Harrington Serves as Global Ambassador for Special Olympics Raising Awareness for People with Intellectual Disabilities
DUBLIN, Ireland - Three time Major Champion and Global Ambassador for Special Olympics, Padraig Harrington will Wear the Laces for Special Olympics in his bid to recapture the Irish Open Championship at the Killarney Golf & Fishing Club, Co. Kerry, Ireland, from July 28th to July 31st.
Harrington has chosen to wear the distinctive Special Olympics emblazoned shoelaces to send a message of respect, acceptance and inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities to the millions of golf fans tuning into the Irish Open around the world.
According to Padraig Harrington: “It was really inspirational to hear about Team Ireland and all the athletes who took part in the recent 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens. Each one of them overcame great hurdles to be there, showing no rivalry against each other but a single focus on reaching their very own personal best and enjoying themselves.
“Winning the Irish Open again is an obvious target of mine and the recent successes in Irish Golf only motivate me further. I am proud to be part of the Wear the Laces for Special Olympics initiative, tied together with my friends at Special Olympics; which I hope will raise awareness for the movement,” added Padraig Harrington.
As a Global Ambassador for Special Olympics since May 2010, Harrington serves as an advisor to the Special Olympics Sports Resource Team on Golf helping to implement golf programs and initiatives designed to spread respect for people with intellectual disabilities to an international audience. Harrington also takes an active role on the golf range and has conducted a number of golf training sessions with Special Olympics athletes and coaches.
Harrington will be the face of the movement's upcoming new Sports Resource website, where he hopes coaches will provide leadership and guidance to athletes on the development and execution of golf training and competition. In addition to sharing his knowledge of golf, he is expected to front a recruitment campaign targeted toward securing more Special Olympics' golf coaches.
Padraig Harrington, who won his first Irish Open four years ago just a few weeks before claiming the first of his Major haul at the British Open at Carnoustie in 2007, is one of the star attractions at the Irish Open along with new US Open Champion Rory McIlroy, 2010 US Open winner Graeme McDowell and the newly crowned British Open champion, Darren Clarke.
The Special Olympics shoelaces can be purchased at www.wearthelaces.org and campaign updates are available from www.facebook.com/wearthelaces.
About Padraig Harrington
Padraig Harrington, became the first European player to win back-to-back Major Championships when he added the 2008 US PGA Championship to the 2008 Open Championship crown, having been the first Irishman to win a Major in 60 years at the 2007 British Open. In addition, Harrington has been a member of Europe's Ryder Cup team six times, won the 2006 European Tour Order of Merit, was the first Irish winner of the Irish Open in 25 years and has a total of 25 tournament titles worldwide.
About Special Olympics
Special Olympics is an international organization that changes lives through the power of sport by encouraging and empowering people with intellectual disabilities, promoting acceptance for all, and fostering communities of understanding and respect worldwide. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown from a few hundred athletes to more than 3.7 million athletes in over 170 countries in all regions of the world, providing year-round sports training, athletic competition and other related programs. Special Olympics now takes place every day, changing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities all over the world from World and Regional events to community playgrounds and ball fields in every small neighborhood’s backyard. Special Olympics provides people with intellectual disabilities continuing opportunities to realize their potential, develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, and experience joy and friendship. Visit Special Olympics at www.specialolympics.org. Engage with us on:Twitter @specialolympics; fb.com/specialolympics; youtube.com/specialolympicshq, and specialolympicsblog.wordpress.com.
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