Sunday, June 28, 2009

The World Dwarf Games Come to Belfast

The fifth "World Dwarf Games" will take place in Belfast during the months of July and August, after the city won the rights to host the games after they fought off competition from all over the world.

The games will begin with the opening ceremony on July 26, after all the competitors in this years games register. The games themselves will comprise of over 35 sports spread across a multitude of ages, ranging from under 10 swimming to veteran class soccer.

 The games originated in Chicago in 1997, and after a hugely successful games it was decided to make the Games a quadrennial event. In the Games brief history, it has taken place in five countries: England, Canada, France, and now Ireland have had the honour of joining the USA who hosted the first event.

Belfast hosted the Dwarf Games European Championships in 2006, which was a massive success both in terms of the local economy and for the competitors. Over 100 competitors from eight European countries came to Lisburn, many of who will return for this year's games.

These games will be one of the most unique sporting events of the sporting calendar as athletes of restricted growth from over 20 countries take place in the event. The vast majority of games will take place at the famous University of Jordanstown.

The "Mary Peters" running track will host all of the track and field events, ranging from the 10m sprint to the 4x100m relay. In the Field events, the Hammer throw is replaced by the Tennis ball throw for underage competitors and the Cricket ball throw.

For a full list of all sports involved in the Dwarf Games, click here.

Lord Mayor Naomi Long paid tribute to the Dwarf Athletic Association of Northern Ireland, which had been successful in bringing the games to Belfast.

She said: "Through their hard work and dedication, DAANI gives people with restricted growth conditions the opportunity to get more involved in mainstream sports and outdoor activity."

Ms Long added: "Events like this are important to Belfast and its economy, and the council is extremely pro-active in attracting high profile events to the city.

"Our research indicates that every £1 we spend on hosting major international events generates £42 in income for the city."
The chief executive of Sport Northern Ireland, Eamonn McCartan, added:
"This promises to be an exciting and unique event, once again affording Belfast, and Ireland as a whole, a valuable opportunity to showcase itself on the international stage as an ideal venue for world class sporting events."
The countdown for the games in on, and after the European Championships popularity in the area, this World Games for people of restricted growth is bound to attract the same amount of support again.
For more information on the games, click here.

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