Special Olympics GB got off to a flying start at the European Games in Antwerp as Ruairidh Brown claimed the very first gold of the Games.
Brown was clearly overjoyed as he received his gold medal from the Princess of Liechtenstein in front of cyclists from the other competing nations. His performance in the 15k road race is sure to inspire his fellow GB athletes as the Games progress into a second day.
Today was mostly about ‘divisioning’ where athletes are grouped by ability and placed in categories with other similarly able competitors. It makes for some very close finishes, where everybody genuinely has an opportunity to show their best.
The atmosphere around the other venues was friendly and congenial with many athletes and coaches having already built extension collections of national pin badges which they trade between each other. Certainly every athlete Able spoke with seemed to be enjoying being in Antwerp and taking part in the Games. Saying that, there are always other distractions away from the sport; gymnast, David Rae has a two day break from competition and told Able Magazine that he was simply going to “eat more Belgian waffles” until recommencing on Thursday.
It was also clear that many of the athletes took great pride in wearing a GB shirt and would like to emulate Brown’s success. His early marker has definitely given a boost to his already confident teammates.