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Issued:03/04/17

Sheffield members of the Yorkshire and Humberside Special Olympics team have been inspiring the next generation of PE teachers at Sheffield Hallam University.

The Special Olympics National Games will take place at venues across Sheffield this summer (7-12 August). The flagship event, which is held every four years,is the county's largest multi-sports event forchild and adult athletes with intellectual disabilities and will seemore than 2,500 competitors in total, with 53 coming from Sheffield.

Sheffield Hallam University is supporting the Games in a number of ways including providing two venues to host the athletics and football, and recruiting 100 of the 600 volunteers needed to host the event.

Niall Guite and Alexander Thompson, who will both represent their county at this summer's games in basketball and swimming, visited Sheffield Hallam to talk to trainee teachers about how their PE teachers, taking part in sport and the Special Olympics have all inspired them.

Dan Porter, head of sport services at Sheffield Hallam, said: "The Special Olympics provides a great platform for the athletes to compete at a national level and experience the personal achievement this brings, so we're absolutely delighted to be supporting the Special Olympics.

"With the games being hosted in Sheffield, there is also a fantastic opportunity for our students to hear the stories of inspirational athletes, like Niall and Alexander, as they begin to think about their careers after university."

Niall's mum, Michelle, said: "The whole experience of being part of the Special Olympics has given Niall so much confidence about himself and what life can be for him.

(L-R) Michelle Guite (Niall’s mum), Niall Guite, Sarah Williams (senior lecturer and primary PE specialist at Sheffield Hallam), Alexander Thompson and Jayne Thompson (Alexander’s mum)

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"It will be fantastic for Niall to compete in his home city with his friends and family in the stands and I would urge everyone in Sheffield to get involved as either fans or volunteers - I think people will be blown away by the whole event."

PGCE student Dominique Gale, who was at the talk, said: "I was amazed by their speech - it was really inspirational. That’s one of the things I love about Hallam - we get to hear motivational talks from such a wide variety of people."

For press information: Please contact Martin Webb in the Sheffield Hallam University press office on 0114 225 2621 or email m.webb@shu.ac.uk