Picture of the Week: DHL Express Ireland Proudly Sponsors Irish Athletes for SUDS European Championships

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DHL Express Ireland is sponsoring 15 exceptional Irish athletes who have secured their place in the upcoming Sport Union for Athletes with Down Syndrome (SUDS) European Championships, including Ireland’s first national Down Syndrome Futsal team. Taking place in Padua, Italy, from September 3rd to 10th, this event witness athletes from 22 countries coming together to compete at the highest level across a range of sports.

On Saturday 26th August DHL Express attended the final training session before the athlete’s headed to Italy and were delighted to present the teams with their personalised tracksuits and kit bags.

Bernard McCarthy, Managing Director of DHL Express Ireland stated, “We are delighted to support these talented athletes in representing Ireland on the European stage. DHL Express Ireland is proud to be playing a small part in their journey and sharing in their triumphs.”

Tessa van Heerden, Sport Coordinator DSI Louth Meath Branch emphasized how important it was for disability sports to have large scale, visible sponsorship, “Having DHL Express Ireland involved reaffirmed our athletes’ place in the Irish sporting community yet again. With disability sport, the load is often a bit heavier. DHL Express Ireland’s sponsorship has not only lightened the financial burden on the parents but also instilled a deep pride in our athletes when wearing the National Team kit.  The vision Bernard had with his sensitive intuition into the needs of this special team, made them all feel supported and included. We are proud to be associated with such an innovative company and they have our heartfelt thanks.”

The Irish squad, comprised of 15 athletes, will compete in three disciplines to showcase their talents and compete on an international stage.

Futsal: Ireland’s Down Syndrome Futsal team, comprised of eight players, was meticulously selected from a pool of 80 candidates through talent days held across Ireland. Futsal, a variant of five-aside indoor football played with a smaller, heavier ball than soccer, perfectly suits Ireland’s climate and is an exciting inclusion in the championship. The Louth Meath branch of Down Syndrome Ireland and the FAI’s Football for All programme has been working to develop the Futsal team among players with Down Syndrome, coached by Paul Smyth.

Athletics: Three determined athletes are set to compete in the athletics segment, showcasing their prowess in races including the 100m, 200m, 800m, 1500m, and triathlon events. For this event personal best times are in scope.

Artistic Swimming: formerly called synchronised swimming, is a very technical sport. Four swimmers have been selected for their first-time participation in the combo event and they have been training for two years to perfect their skills for the European Championships.