Wakefield and Pontefract athletes compete in Special Olympics

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Athletes are hoping to bring home medals for Wakefield in the largest disability sports event in the country.

Members of Able2 Pontefract, Pontefract Pirates and Wakefield Special Olympics are among the 250-strong team representing Yorkshire and Humderside at this week’s Special Olympics GB National Games.

Crowds gathered outside Wakefield Town Hall last Thursday to wish them well, as the official torch for the games passed through the district.

West Yorkshire Police Assistant Chief Constable (ACC) Angela Williams ran with the ‘Flame of Hope’, as it made its way around the country ahead of the opening ceremony on Tuesday.

Oliver Peace, of Upton, and Steven Mathur, of Wakefield, were among local athletes who joined the celebration.

Mr Peace, 25, who is competing in athletics in his first games.

He said: “I will be doing my best and want to run like Usain Bolt and jump like Greg Rutherford.”

Footballer Mr Mathur, 24, who will take part in the championships for the third time, added: “There was a really good atmosphere in Wakefield [for the torch], a lot of people came out to cheer us on.”

Mayor of Wakefield Coun Kevin Barker greeted the torch party.

He said: “It has been great to see everybody. We hope to see you back again with all the medals.”

The games, which run until Saturday, are the biggest sporting event to take place in the country for people with intellectual and learning disabilities.

Around 2,600 people are taking part across 20 sports.

Sheffield is playing host for this year’s 10th anniversary of the championships.

But sailing events are taking place at Pugneys Country Park in Wakefield today and tomorrow.