Special Olympics Ireland

Have you ever wondered how it feels to be a Special Olympics athlete? Paul Alford outlines it here…

Paul tabletennis

My name is Paul Alford and I live in Navan and I get 8 hours a week support from my support worker Brian.

I’m part of the Arch Club for people with disabilities, and I go by myself every week. Tony Brady is the boss of the club and Mary Davitt is the Secretary, and I get to play games with them every Thursday night for two hours from 7.30pm to 9.30pm.

I play table tennis and I enjoy playing it. I got to play table tennis in March 2016, and that was my first time ever playing it in my life. I never got a chance to play it before when I lived in the service until I moved to Navan and got my own place.

In 2016, Mary thought I was good at the Table Tennis and she asked me would I like to go to the Special Olympics and play table Tennis. I went to the Special Olympics in Carlow in 2017, and I got through to the final and came second in it, and I got a silver medal. I played two more games and got a medal for coming 3rd, and I got a ribbon for 4th place too.

That was good, for the first time ever playing table tennis in the Special Olympics. I enjoyed playing it and I got a card play in the Special Olympics for the next 4 years. That’s good isn’t it?

alfordPaul Alford is a staff member at Inclusion Ireland and a self-advocate. His focus is on independent living and decision-making for people with disabilities. Paul lived for many years in institutions and has recently moved into his own apartment. He has written about this experience with the assistance of Stephen Curtis.

Paul’s book, “The First 52 Years” is available to buy now.