1. ITV Report

Emma, Sam and Andrea represent Team GB in swimming for the European Special Olympics

Sam and Emma training at Annan pool Photo: ITV Border

Among this year's European Special Olympics competitors will be two athletes and a coach from Dumfries and Galloway.

It will be the first time that Sam Pattinson, 23, and Emma Birley, 28, have competed in these games. However, both have competed at the British National Summer games in 2009 and 2013.

Sam, Emma and Coach Andrea Manson will be representing Team GB in swimming in Belgium in September.

Sam Pattinson is from Rigg. He's explains what he's most looking forward to:

Sam will be competing in the following races:

  • 50 metres butterfly
  • 50 metres freestyle
  • Medley relay (which includes swimming four 25 metre lengths, one of which will be butterfly)
Credit: ITV Border

Sam, Emma and Andrea, along with a small number of other athletes and coaches have also been invited to meet the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister before leaving for Belgium.

At the opening ceremony on 13th September, which will see a parade of 2000 athletes and 1000 coaches, athletes will take their oath - 'Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in my attempt'.

This motto is clear as Emma, from Lockerbie, is hopeful for a medal but admits that it's not all about winning:

Emma will compete in the following races:

  • 25 metres backstroke
  • 50 metres freestyle
  • Freestyle relay (which includes swimming four 25 metre lengths, one of which will be freestyle)
Coach Andrea Manson at Annan Pool Credit: ITV Border

'It's important for the inclusion side of it. People with disabilities, they have achievements, they have aims and certainly Sam and Emma are working towards goals, they've both said they might not win medals but they would like to get personal bests and just try their hardest when they're out there.'

– Andrea Manson, Disability Swimming Coach in Annandale and Eskdale

The GB team consists of 71 people: 49 athletes, 9 coaches, 7 head coaches, management and others. The team travel over on the 9th September and will stay in Antwerp until they travel back on 22nd September.

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