JERSEY’S Chloe Russell begins her attempt to win a medal at the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Berlin this week.
The gymnast is part of the Great Britain team and is participating in the artistic gymnastics, with the preliminaries beginning on Friday, followed by the finals the next day.
It is the 16th edition of the Games, the world’s largest event for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, with over 7,000 athletes taking part from 190 nations across 26 sports. The first Games was held in Chicago in 1968 but is only one part of the Special Olympics organisation that gives people with intellectual disabilities the chance to compete at an elite level and promote diversity in sport.
Special Olympics Germany president Christiane Krajewski said: ‘They will show the broad public the power that our athletes can achieve and the impressive performances they are capable of.
‘I hope that the World Games will contribute to making differently-abled athletes permanently visible, thereby expanding their opportunities in sport and other areas too.’
Russell will be competing in vaulting, uneven bars, beam and the floor routine, as well as the all-round, which totals the four event scores. The 23-year-old has Ataxic Cerebral Palsy (CP) which affects her fine motor skills and speech. She has been involved with Jersey Special Gymnastics Club since she was six and this is her first time she will compete at the World Summer Games.
All competitions at the Games are structured so that athletes compete in equitable divisions, matching them with others of the same gender, age and ability.
Russell has been grouped in Level 2 and will be competing against gymnasts of a similar ability from around the world, including 2019 Abu Dhabi Games gold medallist Blanche Decorte from Belgium. Russell also follows in the pioneering footsteps of four other gymnasts from Jersey – Aaron Bonnar, Jessica Vieira, Cailiegh Quail and Matthew Kirkland – who won multiple medals in Abu Dhabi four years ago.