Eight British golfers are preparing for the championship of a lifetime and the chance to win gold during the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi in March.
This Saturday (January 19) marks the start of a final full training weekend in Sheffield for the entire Special Olympics GB Squad of 128 athletes and unified partners, competing across 17 sports. The golfers taking part include England Golf and Golf Foundation Young Ambassador Warren Clark from Southampton, who has assisted both these organisations in the last two years in work to bring golf to a new audience and change perceptions of the sport among young people.
Warren is joined by teammates William Cottrell (London), Caitlin Dodds (Edinburgh), William Fairweather (Arbroath), Robert Holden (Rossendale), Mark Rhodes (Bradford), Andrew Stuart (Dunblane), Nicholas Silver (London), and team coaches Jamie McDonald (Head Coach) and Frank Hunter.
In Abu Dhabi, 7,000 athletes from 170 nations will take part in seven days of competition in 24 sports, supported by 2,600 coaches, 20,000 volunteers and an expected 500,000 spectators.
In Sheffield, the golf squad will practise and play together at Moor View Golf Centre on Saturday morning before returning to their hotel for a series of training sessions. The weekend schedule includes: sport training;media classes; kit trying; photography and other break-out tasks for each sport’s squad. Learning about the culture in the UAE is also an important feature of the get-together.
During the Special Olympics World Games in March, the SOGB golf team will get to play the world-renowned Yas Links, ranked 44 in Golf Digest’s World’s 100 Greatest Courses.
SOGB golf coach Frank Huntersaid: “There is a great deal of excitement among our players as this really is the opportunity of a lifetime to represent Special Olympics GB on the world stage and play on the famous Yas Links – what a challenge! This weekend in Sheffield will offer the chance for the golf team to practise together, meet fellow competitors from other sports and learn more about the prospect of competing as a team. We are all thrilled about representing Great Britain.”
The Golf Foundation, the national charity that helps young people from all backgrounds to enjoy the benefits of golf, donated 24 dozen Titleist golf balls (courtesy of Foundation partner Titleist) to the SOGB golf team for use in the build-up to the Special Olympics World Games.