Commonwealth athletes depart for Games

Commonwealth athletes depart for Games

Northern Ireland’s Commonwealth athletes have vowed to bring home the gold ahead of their departure for Scotland on Saturday for next week’s Games.

The team is sending its largest ever squad to the Games with 117 sports men and women competing across a range of sports.

Competition begins on Wednesday and goes on to 3 August and all the athletes said they were determined to bring home the medals.

Swimmer Bethany Firth, who won gold at the Paralympic Games in London in 2012, said she was "excited" to represent Northern Ireland at the Games.

She said: "I've learned a lot from the Paralympics and I think this is another step up for me.

"It is nerve-wracking and it will be hard, but I can learn a lot and take it back to the Paralympics.

"Hopefully I'll show people that disabled and able-bodied athletes can compete against each other and push me on that bit further."

As long as I perform, I'll bring home the gold.

Boxer Steven Ward

Boxer Steven Ward added: "I'll be focusing on performing and just to beat the guy put in front of me.

"The country is so good at the sport so confidence is high."

Sports Minister Carál Ní Chuilín was at Queen's University playing fields to wish the departing athletes well.

The Sinn Féin minister said: "We are at the point where years of training and dedication will be put to the test.

"As the athletes say goodbye to their families, and anticipate the competition ahead, there is a real sense of nervous excitement.

"Of course there is expectation, but everyone is an inspiration and our athletes should look forward to the Games with pride."

This is a team effort, and what we will see in the upcoming competitions is based on years of training and sacrifice.

Carál Ní Chuilín

She added: "It is fantastic to see so many sports represented in the team.

"I must also pay tribute to the support staff of trainers, coaches, families, and other personnel who have been part of the journey so far, and those who will accompany the athletes in Glasgow.

"As the athletes prepare to test their strength, speed, skill and stamina they can be heartened by the support they have received so far.

"As minister, I will be cheering on every one of our athletes and following their progress with interest. They leave with the best wishes of everyone at home. Good luck to everyone taking part in the Games."

© UTV

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