Paul ready for dream LA trip

Competing in World Games

Published 14/07/2015 | 00:00

Paul with team-mate Aoife O’Sullivan from Cork and head gym judge for Ireland at the World Games, Liam O’Toole
Paul with team-mate Aoife O’Sullivan from Cork and head gym judge for Ireland at the World Games, Liam O’Toole
Paul working hard on the rings

Paul Keane of the Wexford Special Olympics Club is heading out to Los Angeles on July 22 to compete for Team Ireland in men's gymnastics at the Special Olympics World Games.

The event will start on July 25, and Paul's club colleagues are very proud of the young man from Ferns who will be involved in the artistic gymnastics discipline.

These games are held every four years and it will be the biggest sporting event in the U.S.A. this year and the biggest in Los Angeles since the 1984 Olympics. With 7,000 athletes competing across 26 sports from 177 countries from all over the world, this will be an experience not to be missed.

The opening ceremony will be a spectacular event taking place in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum which hosted the 1932 and 1984 Olympics Games. Stevie Wonder, Avril Lavigne and Nicole Scherzinger to name but a few are among the headline acts. America's First Lady Michelle Obama will be officiating at the ceremony.

Paul will have six events in total: floor, vault, pommel horse, horizontal bar, parallel bars and rings. Paul had great success at the Ireland Games in Limerick last year and as a result was lucky enough to be chosen on the Irish gymnastics team, one of only three men selected.

Paul has been training hard all year with Wexford Special Olympics Club and Wexford Gym Club twice a week. Paul also had regular training weekends with Team Ireland in Dublin and was invited to train with the Owenbeau club in Cork.

There is no doubt about Paul's commitment as he is early for all training sessions and puts in a lot of work every time. Paul, aged 34, is very fit and along with gymnastics plays soccer and swims every week with Gorey Special Olympics club.

Paul will travel to L.A. with Team Ireland and will stay with the team throughout the Games. Paul's mother, Máire, and coach, Marie Baker, will journey to L.A. to support him. Meanwhile, Paul's dad, Bill, and family and friends in Ferns and Cork will be following his progress closely.

Needless to say all the gang in both Wexford and Gorey Special Olympics Clubs will be supporting Paul all the way too. There is an app - LA2015 - and a website - LA2015.org - which can be downloaded onto a smart phone with lots of information and you can track each athlete's progress on this. The website www.specialolympics.ie will provide lots of up to date information on Team Ireland.

The games will last for ten days and we look forward to celebrating on Paul's return. Paul is a very popular member of the club and we all wish him the best in L.A.

Paul will have his final training session on Saturday, July 18, from 1-2 p.m. in the Wexford Gym Club, Drinagh. He will be demonstrating his routines there if anyone would like to drop in to see him and wish him luck.

Wexford People

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