Athlone Hosts Inaugural Para-Athletics Festival

At the recent Indoor Diversity Games and Para Athletic Festival in Athlone’s International Arena, schools from all over the midlands took part in both individual and team categories.  Six of the ten team categories contested were won by Offaly schools. This js part of a new competition concept known as Future Stars. The Indoor Diversity Games were established in 2017 by Offaly Sports Partnership, with the objective of increasing participation of children from an ethnic minority background in athletics, through hosting an indoor event in a world class arena.

The Games encourage children of an ethnic background to become involved in sport

The Indoor Diversity Games, organised by Offaly Sports Partnership )with support from Athletics Ireland and Paralympics Ireland) sees schools from several counties participate annually. This year the Games were expanded to include events for young people with impairments to participate in Para Athletics. Events range from sprints, endurance races, Long Jump, Shot Putt and relays. All individual points are then added to determine the best overall schools. To date, at least 5 young people who participated in the Games have gone on to represent Ireland in international underage competitions.

In the team competitions for primary schools, the overall winners were: 3rd/4th Class Girls – Scoil Mhuire Tullamore; 3rd/4th Boys – Tullamore Educate Together; 5th/6th Class Girls – Presentation Primary School Portarlington; 5th/6th Class Boys – Merlin Woods national School Galway.

In the team competitions for post primary schools, Tullamore College has great success claiming victory in four of six categories contested.

Post Primary Team Winners: Junior Girls – Tullamore College; Junior Boys – Moyne Community School Longford; Intermediate Girls – Tullamore College; Intermediate Boys – Tullamore College; Senior Girls – Tullamore College; Senior Boys – Summerhill College Sligo.

Primary schools from the four counties that entered teams:

LaoisOffalyLongfordWestmeath
Sandylane NS PortarlingtonScoil Mhuire Tullamore (Girls)St. Joseph’s NS Longford (Girls)Mullingar Educate Together
Presentation Primary Portarlington (Girls)Scoil Eoin Phoil Tullamore (Boys)  
St. Patrick’s Portarlington (Boys)Mercy Primary School Birr (Girls)  
 St. Brendan’s Birr (Boys)  
 St. Mary’s Edenderry  
 St. Patrick’s Edenderry  
 St. Rynagh’s Banagher  

In addition to these there was one individual entry in the para-athletics for a child attending school in Coolderry.

Secondary schools from the four counties that entered teams:

LaoisOffalyLongfordWestmeath
 Ard Scoil Chiarain Naofa ClaraMoyne Community SchoolAthlone Community College
 Sacred Heart Tullamore (Girls) Mullingar Community College
 St. Brendan’s Birr  
 St. Mary’s Secondary School Edendery  
 Tullamore College  

In addition to these there were two individual entries of African descent in the Diversity Games; 1 representing Mountmellick Community School and 1 from Portarlington, representing St. Paul’s in Monasterevin. There was also an individual entry in the para-athletics from Mountrath. Credit to Eamonn Henry and his team at Offaly Sports Partnership for embracing this concept and running the competition with Athletics Ireland and Sport Ireland in support. For more information on inclusive athletic events hosted by Offaly Sports Partnership contact Eamonn Henry on email ehenry@offalycoco.ie

Photo credits

Action shots – Deema Feehan (weCreateMedia Ferbane)

Presentation Photos – Joe O Sullivan

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