independent

Monday 19 August 2019

Olympic champion's journey continues

Lisa demonstrates her prowess on the beam.
Lisa demonstrates her prowess on the beam.
Councillors George Lawlor (Labour) and Jim Moore (Fine Gael) with Lisa Redmond and Peadar Dempsey of Special Olympics Wexford

Simon Bourke

She may have returned from Abu Dhabi over a week ago, but Wexford's triple-Olympic medallist is still very much in demand.

Having already been welcomed home by hundreds of adoring fans and had a celebratory party with family and friends, Lisa Redmond was the star attraction at a special event held at the Wexford Special Olympics Sports Club on Sunday afternoon.

Attended by Mayor Tom Dempsey and Councillors George Lawlor (Labour) and Jim Moore (Fine Gael), the event saw Lisa demonstrate the skills and gymnastic abilities which saw her take gold, silver and bronze medals at the Abu Dhabi games. She then addressed the crowd in an emotional speech where she thanked all those who had been with her since the very start of her journey.

Outlining the extent of that journey and the challenges Lisa has overcome to reach the pinnacle of her sport, Peadar Dempsey of Wexford Special Olympics Sports Club (WSOSC) said that the Tomhaggard native had competed to a consistently high standard over the past four years, winning local, regional and national finals before finally qualifying for the Olympics in the U.A.E which took place last month.

'Once selected for the Irish Special Olympics Team, Lisa trained twice weekly in the Wexford Gymnastics Club with her Wexford Special Olympics gymnastics coaches and volunteers, never missing a session,' said Peadar who travelled at his own expense to support Lisa in Abu Dhabi. 'She also travelled to Dublin for two residential training weekends and several one-day training sessions.'

Keen to thank those who have supported Lisa throughout her career to date and to outline how much of a group effort it was, Peadar said, 'Our volunteers provided extra training sessions for Lisa in preparation for her participation in the 2019 Special Olympics World Games.

'And a number of organisations permitted the use of their facilities during the run up to the Games, among them Wexford Gymnastics Club, Presentation and C.B.S. Secondary Schools, Murrintown Community Centre, St. Martins Community Centre, Ferrybank Pool, Killane Castle Pitch n Putt, D.M.P Athletics Club and Wexford Golf Club.'

Ultimately however, Peadar said that Lisa's success wouldn't have been possible were it not for the people of the local community: 'The people of Wexford have been continuously supportive. The generosity of the people and businesses in Wexford enable us to provide athletes with the opportunity to compete at local, regional and national level.'

Wexford Special Olympics Sports Club provides training and competition for adults and children with intellectual disabilities in artistic and rhythmic gymnastics, basketball, bocce, aquatics, athletics and pitch and putt.

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