“IT’S SOMETHING I’VE ALWAYS DREAMT ABOUT AND WANTED TO ACHIEVE”: SPECIAL OLYMPICS GB STARS REFLECT ON WORLD GAMES
As part of our ongoing campaign on supporting para-athletes in sport, Kukri Sports recently sat down with two Special Olympics Great Britain stars to discuss their experience of this year’s World Games.
Kukri Sports, a committed advocate for inclusivity in sports, is delighted to share an interview with Special Olympics Great Britain stars, Matthew Brough and Ethan Orton. This interview is part of our ongoing campaign to show our support for para athletes and shed light on their remarkable achievements in the world of sports.
Matthew Brough, a talented tennis player, and Ethan Orton, a skilled badminton player, both represented Great Britain at the Special Olympics World Games, showcasing their extraordinary talents on an international stage.
Matthew shared his pride of representing Great Britain for the first time at the Special Olympics World Games in Berlin, where he accomplished a dream he had set his sights on. “It’s something I’ve always dreamt about and wanted to achieve. Last year, I won an award for York Disabled Sports Person of the Year, and I said at the time my goal was to qualify for the World Games in Berlin, and I did just that.”
His teammate, Ethan, was also full of pride when reflecting on his achievements at this year’s World Games in Berlin. “Representing Special Olympics GB is the best sporting achievement in my life up to this point. It means everything to me as I’m not only representing Wales, my country, but also the whole of the UK, which was great to be a part of.
“Winning gold in the Badminton men’s singles was an amazing feeling. I was proud enough to compete, but to win gold and silver medals on top of that, whilst also overcoming my barriers leading up to the games, was fantastic for me on a personal level.”
The Special Olympics Games also brought memorable moments for Matthew, where he won bronze in the mixed doubles with his teammate, Emily Clarke, and secured a gold medal in the men’s singles against Team Brazil. Reflecting on the accomplishments, he expressed his pride, saying, “To win a gold medal was just an amazing feeling. I’ve been showing them around my hometown, and everyone has been fully supportive and happy for me.
“It’s amazing to show them and repay the support that everyone has shown me throughout my athletic career up to this point.”
Matthew also acknowledged the unwavering support from his coaches, Paul Singleton and Chris Enock, as well as his family, who have played a significant role in his journey. “Having someone to talk to like my coaches made me feel much more relaxed, which then helped my performance on the court.
“The positive feedback and energy that my coaches gave me and my teammates helped to motivate us and play the best we can.”
The athletes shared their passion for promoting Special Olympics and breaking barriers in the sporting world. “I think there needs to be more recognition of the Special Olympics, because we have athletes who are capable of competing in the Paralympic Games in the future,” added Ethan.
Matthew said, “We’re fortunate to get this opportunity, and it’s something that I would like more people to know about because, in my opinion, it’s the best sporting event in the world. It’s the best inclusive sporting event ever.”
Ethan’s journey with Special Olympics GB has not only brought him sporting success, but has also transformed his life and mental health. He shared, “Competing in sports has helped my behaviour and improved my mental health.
“When I was younger, I was playing against mainstream players in mainstream competitions. I wasn’t doing very well and that affected me and put me down, but then my badminton coach from my local club had a contact from Special Olympics. The coach from Special Olympics came to see me play and eventually took me on.”
As part of their future goals, both athletes aspire to further promote Special Olympics and inspire younger athletes with disabilities. Matthew said, “I want to inspire lots of others with special needs to participate in sport and achieve their dreams, and, most importantly, be happy with what they are doing,”
Ethan added, “I want to try and make clubs recognise Special Olympics more. There’s people with disabilities at clubs that don’t know anything about it or the benefits it can bring, so I hope promoting Special Olympics more will really help in increasing long-term participation.
“There are always going to be people who bring you down, you’ve just got to ignore them and try your best. Opportunities are out there, you’ve just got to go and find them and prove to everyone that you are as capable as anyone else, and that’s what we want to raise more awareness of in the future.”
Kukri remains committed to supporting athletes with disabilities, like Matthew Brough and Ethan Orton, and would like to congratulate them and their teammates’ extraordinary achievements at this year’s World Games.
Kukri is a proud partner of Special Olympics GB. Click here to find out more about them.
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