Matt English, CEo Special Olmpics Ireland with Special Olympics basketball athlete Fiachra Englishby
2011 Special Olympics European Basketball Week was a resounding success in Ireland full of many exciting tournaments and events. Regional games were held throughout the week across Ireland while the men’s and women’s National Basketball Cup took place on November 26th.
The men’s National Basketball Cup was held in the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght, Dublin. Six teams competed in this action packed event that was reported to be extremely competitive displaying impressive basketball skills, unquestionable dedication and fantastic sportsmanship. Special Olympics CEO, Matt English was on hand to present the athletes with their medals and silverware; “It’s fantastic to see so many athletes taking part in this event as part of European Basketball Week. The skill, talent and commitment displayed here today by the athletes and coaches is not only impressive but inspiring”.
Elsewhere in Dublin Corduff Sports Centre in Blanchardstown was the host of the women’s National Basketball Cup. Bernie Priestly from the Irish Sports Council who presented the winning teams with their trophy and place medals said; “I’m delighted to be here today to present these gifted athletes with their awards. It was a day full of great basketball games and every athlete here should be very proud”.
Following the tournaments Special Olympics Europe/Eurasia in conjunction with Basketball Ireland and with support from the European Union, launched a Basketball Grading DVD. Bernard O’Byrne, Secretary General Basketball Ireland was present at the launch; “This is a very important piece of coaching education and will go a long way in assisting Special Olympics coaches to grade players according to their basketball ability”.
In other parts of Ireland Special Olympics Connaught held a basketball blitz on November 26th while Special Olympics Eastern Region held a basketball skills advancement event. In Ulster, Monaghan Special Olympics club hosted a basketball friendly event on Tuesday, November 29th. Finally, 98 athletes from across the Munster region converged on the University of Limerick on Saturday, November 26th.
Overall European Basketball Week in Ireland proved to be a great opportunity for athletes, volunteers and coaches to come together and celebrate their love of basketball.