Lisa to represent Ireland at Special Olympics World Games

Athletes from Team Ireland set off from Dublin Airport on Tuesday en route for Los Angeles for the Special Olympics World Games, and among the 88 chosen to represent their country was Lisa O’Brien from Ballyhea, who is the only member of the COPE Foundation to qualify.

The opening ceremony will take place on Saturday at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, where the 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games took place, and Lisa will walk proudly behind the Ireland flag, while her parents look on proudly from the stands. Lisa’s chosen sport is athletics, and she will compete in the 25 metre and 50 metre races.

Mary Fogarty, manager of the COPE Foundation in Quartertown, told the

Mallow Star

that a special going-away party was given for Lisa last Wednesday, where a cake was brought out and everyone wished her all the best at the Games. She revealed that Lisa has been training hard in recent months for the event, and everyone in COPE is proud of her and hoping she can achieve medal glory. Also on the plane to Los Angeles were local volunteers Julie Dwyer and Martin O’Leary, who are to be commended for giving their time to ensure the successful running of the 2015 World Games.

This is the first time in 16 years that the Special Olympics Summer Games have been held in the US, where they began (in Chicago, in 1968), and as well as competing in various competitions Lisa and the other athletes and volunteers will be able to enjoy performances by stars such as Stevie Wonder and Avril Lavigne. Also attending the Games will be Michelle Obama, actress Eva Longoria and Olympic star Michael Phelps.