Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Gymnast with Down syndrome carries Olympic Torch

by Daniel Mckenzie, Runcorn and Widnes Weekly News:
A world-beating disabled athlete from Widnes became the first Halton resident to carry the Olympic Flame in the London 2012 Torch Relay on Sunday.
Down’s Syndrome gymnast Omar Haddad, 23, of Downside, struck gold in the floor, rings, parallel bars, horizontal bar and all-round disciplines, in the Special Olympics in Athens earlier this year.
He was one of 10 Special Olympics athletes selected to carry the flame in Haverfordwest, South Wales.
He was nominated as a torchbearer through Coca-Cola’s Future Flames campaign.
Omar said: “My whole family was there cheering, everyone was cheering. It was fantastic.”
Omar travels twice a week to the Cheshire Academy Of Integrated Sport And Arts in Crewe to receive coaching and is partially funded by Halton Council’s sports development department, which has provided him with a small grant to help with his training and transport costs.
He enjoys a number of sports outside gymnastics, including kick-boxing, trampolining and swimming. In his spare time he does voluntary work at a garden centre doing woodwork, catering and gardening.
Karen Wallin, of Special Olympics Great Britain, said: “It’s great that our Special Olympics GB athletes were able to join the excitement this summer and carry the Olympic Flame.
“The athletes had a fantastic reaction while on the run which made the day really memorable for them.”

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