DERRY teenager, Amy Delaney will touch down in Dublin on Friday afternoon to a heroes’ welcome after striking gold at the 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Abu Dhabi.
The 16 year-old Ardnashee School and College pupil clinched gold in the ten-pin bowling singles event last Sunday before adding a silver medal to her collection in Tuesday’s doubles alongside Cork’s Rosarie McCarthy.
A member of the Foyle Special Olympics Bowling Club, Amy also secured a fourth placed medal in the team event and will be greeted at Dublin airport by her parents, sisters and her club coaches who are ‘over the moon’ with her outstanding achievements.
The 91 strong Team Ireland squad certainly blazed a trail at the Games in a variety of sports and return home with a massive haul of 86 medals!
Amy’s club coach and Ulster 10-pin bowling coach, Angela Stewart insists she’s ‘done the city proud’ and admits it’s been an emotional experience for both her and Amy’s parent’s who have watched from afar.
“It’s great for the city,” said Angela. “You can’t go any higher than the World Games so Amy and the Ireland team have done superbly well.
“She’s worked hard for this. She’s done a lot of training, twice a week, with the club and then training on her own as well and it’s paid off. She’s done the city proud.”
Angela has been a coach at the club for 19 years and has watched Amy’s remarkable progress for the past six years. And while she’s always known she has a talent in the sport she admits her achievements at the World Games has surpassed her expectations.
“She’s only 16 and is a beautiful, bubbly person. She’s always happy and she’s just wonderful. We were hoping she could achieve something like this because she is a fantastic player but she surpassed our expectations. The competition is tough out there so you weren’t sure how she would do.
“We really are pleased. We’re 10 foot high and her parents are so emotional. It is very emotional for the club even and the coaches. It’s been a very emotional experience.
“We’d like to thank her parents for all their support because it was a big commitment for them throughout all the training. And they helped out and supported the club. I’d like to thank all the sponsors and the help they got.”
Amy was accompanied on the trip to the United Arab Emirates by her uncle Kevin who is immensely proud of his talented niece - the youngest in the Ireland team.
“Amy is having a wonderful time at these games. The Special Olympics is a wonderful tournament. Amy is so proud to represent her country, she wouldn’t let me forget to bring the Irish flag the day she won the gold medal: ‘Uncle Kevin bring my flag and don’t forget’ she warned me.
“Derry people have thoroughly congratulated Amy on social media and Amy is a very proud Derry girl who went to Dubai to represent her club, city and country to the best of her ability and boy did she deliver with gold on St Patrick’s Day.”