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Special Olympics leaves British athletes with lasting memories

Two athletes from Barnstaple and Plymouth have been competing in the Special Olympics in Los Angeles in America.

Daniel Weston from Barnstaple managed to bag a bronze medal in the cycling, whilst Elizabeth Haywood from Plymouth was batting in the badminton.

Ian Payne reports:

Steven Dodd from Plymouth also had success at the tournament, winning two silver medals in the kayaking.

The slogan of the games has been 'Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave."

The event finished last night but it will certainly leave some lasting memories for those taking part.

Team GB hits Hollywood for this year's Special Olympics

Olympic gold-medal-winning boxer Audley Harrison gets behind Team GB. Credit: ITV News

They're a long way from home, but our Special Olympics athletes are raring to go.

The Games, for sports men and women with learning disabilities, are taking place in Los Angeles - and the West Country is well represented in the Great Britain squad.

Our reporter Ian Payne has travelled across the pond to join them.

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Devonian set to fly out for Special Olympics

Competitors are preparing to fly out to Los Angeles to take part in the Special Olympics World Games which starts in eight days time.

America's First Lady Michelle Obama will be at the opening ceremony along with 80,000 other people.

Cyclist Daniel Weston from Barnstaple will be there as part of the Great Britain team, and is one of the favourites for a medal.

His coach Will Newton, has high hopes for the 22-year-old.

Before Daniel got on a bike at the age of six his severe autism led to behavioural problems that would prevent him from living any form of independent life when older.

He now works part-time at the Barnstaple Hotel and his parents believe it's cycling and swimming with other people that has transformed his life. He's even met the Prime Minister and carried the Olympic torch in Ilfracombe two years ago alongside fellow North Devonian Jonathan Edwards.

Last month Daniel won three silver medals at the Special Olympics GB National Championships.

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VIDEO: Flame of Hope at Opening Ceremony in Bath

This video shows the Flame of Hope arriving at its destination - the Opening Ceremony for the Special Olympics National Summer Games in Bath.

The torch has been on a long journey through the country, carried by athletes competing in the Special Olympics.

It was brought onto the stage at the Royal Crescent by competitors from the west country and passed to tennis player Thomas Mellor from Cheltenham who used it to light the cauldron signalling the start of the games.

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Flame of Hope to pass through Barnstaple

The torch began its journey in Falmouth on Friday. Credit: ITV News West Country

The torch for the Special Olympics GB's National Summer Games will pass through Barnstaple this morning as it makes its way around the South West.

The games, held every four years, will see 1,700 athletes with intellectual disabilities compete over three days.

The torch, or Flame of Hope, will be used to light the cauldron at the opening ceremony at the Royal Crescent in Bath on Wednesday, which is expected to attract an audience of about 7,000.

Full report: Special Olympics torch in Plymouth

Another Olympic-style torch relay is taking place throughout the South West this weekend ahead of Special Olympics GB's National Summer Games in Bath next week.

The Flame of Hope has visited Devon today. Organisers say the success of last year's Paralympics has encouraged many other people with learning difficulties to take up sport.

Richard Lawrence reports:

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