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Meet David, flying the flag for the North East at the special Olympics

David Martin from Gateshead is autistic, and suffers from epilepsy

The 25-year-old recently joined his local Special Olympics club to make friends.

He found out that he was pretty good at weight-lifting, and now he's getting ready to fly across the world and represent his country.

Helen Pearson's been to meet him.

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Cleveland mayor congratulates Special Olympics medallists

The Mayor of Redcar and Cleveland has congratulated five medal winning athletes at a special event after their success at the Special Olympics in Los Angeles.

Playing their part in a Team GB squad that claimed 68 gold medals, 69 silver medals and 42 bronze medals in the July games were 21-year-old Steven Johnson from Loftus who secured silver in seven-a-side football, Eston residents Stuart Tipp aged 17, Lewis Johnson, also 17, George Dunkerley aged 14 as well as Ormesby based Shaun Smith, aged 17, who all struck gold in basketball.

Flying out with 110 other keen sportspeople from across Great Britain, Redcar and Cleveland’s top athletes joined up with more than 7,000 competitors from across the world for the week-long games in California.

Also in attendance at the reception was Keith Wilcox the Northern Region Chairperson and Special Olympics GB Board Member. He said: “Every team member rose to the occasion and after many weeks of training the athletes were rewarded with an amazing experience and memories to last forever."

  • You can watch our report from the Special Olympics in Los Angeles here
Cllr Brenda Forster (bottom right), with Northern Region Chairperson Keith Wilcox to her left, and the five medal winning athletes

I was delighted to be able to congratulate all the hard work and success our Olympians have had at the Special Olympics; they have made the whole borough proud.

I am also very pleased that the council-run Early Help Youth Service was available in the months leading up to the Games to support Shaun, George, Lewis, Stuart and Steven in their training and hopefully this great support can help future athletes fulfil their potential and do as well as these five gifted Olympians.

– Cllr Brenda Forster

Special Olympics team gets geared up for future games

The Special Olympics Gateshead team has recruited dozens of new members since it was set up a year ago with organisers now want to build on the legacy of this year's games.

Today the team was presented with new sports gear to help them progress for future events.

Kris Jepson went along to Gateshead Leisure Centre to meet some of the new competitors:

North East athletes going for gold in the USA

In just over a week ten days time a team of 11 athletes from the North East will join thousands of others from 165 nations at the Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles.

They all have learning disabilities and are representing Great Britain in events including swimming, basketball and football.

Our reporter Kris Jepson has been to Redcar to see them in training.

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