Special Olympics Golfers Tee Up for Success at First National Golf Tournament

TORONTO, Sept. 28, 2012 /CNW/ - Josh Bailey has multiple disabilities: he has one arm, is legally blind and has an intellectual disability as the result of a car accident in his early childhood.

He's also very proud of his golf game, particularly when he gets a birdie or chips in the ball for par.

Josh is one of 54 competitive golfers from across Canada arriving this weekend in Mount Hope, Ontario for Special Olympics Canada's first national golf tournament hosted at the Chippewa Creek Golf Club in Mount Hope, Ontario. Athletes train year-round in Special Olympics programs in order to qualify for this event.

"We are thrilled to have so many participants at our inaugural national golf tournament, and look forward to the addition of golf into our national summer games in 2014," said Sharon Bollenbach, Vice President of Sport at Special Olympics Canada. "The tournament and the clinics taking place this weekend, provide Special Olympics athletes and coaches with the opportunity to compete in golf at a national level and to learn new skills from PGA of Canada pros.  We are really excited about the expansion of our athlete opportunities to include the sport of golf."

Special Olympics Canada introduced golf into the organization's sports programming in the 2008; it is considered a "recognized" sport along with bocce and basketball. PGA of Canada, in partnership with Golf Canada and Special Olympics Canada, developed Special Olympics Golf Coach, a specific coach training program for Special Olympics golf coaches. PGA of Canada golf pros will be on hand over the weekend, coaching and hitting the links with Special Olympics athletes and coaches.

"The PGA of Canada is proud to be involved with Special Olympics Canada in the growth and development of their golf program," said Morgan Court, Manager of Education, PGA of Canada, one of the event's partners. "With the support of PGA members, we're looking forward to working with the coaches and athletes in some professional development activities over the course of the upcoming tournament."

The Power of Sport

Like Josh, Susie Doyens' life changed dramatically due to her involvement with a Special Olympics golf program in the United States. Susie was born with Down syndrome, and remained mute for most of her childhood due to social pressure and anxiety.

In the PSA "Speechless," Susie shatters those fears and attributes her transformation to the confidence gained through Special Olympics. The video can be viewed online (http://www.specialolympics.org/Speechless_PSA.aspx).

Special Olympics Canada's first national golf tournament runs September 28 and 29, 2012. In addition to the 54 athletes, 21 coaches, 12 mission staff, 30 volunteers and 25 golf officials are participating in this exciting event.

About Special Olympics Canada

Established in 1969, the Canadian chapter of this international movement is dedicated to enriching the lives of Canadians with an intellectual disability through sport. Operating out of sport clubs in all Canadian provinces and territories, except Nunavut, this grassroots movement reaches beyond the sphere of sports to empower individuals, change attitudes and build communities. From two-year-olds to mature adults, more than 35,000 children, youth and adults with an intellectual disability are registered in Special Olympics year-round programs across Canada, and they are supported by more than 17,100 volunteers, including more than 13,500 trained coaches.

For more information, visit www.specialolympics.ca or follow us on Facebook and on Twitter @SpecialOCanada) #SOCgolf.

SOURCE: Special Olympics Canada

For further information:

Mary-Margaret Jones
Marketing and Public Relations
Special Olympics Canada
T: (416) 927-9050, ext. 4383
C: (416) 909 5911
E: mmjones@specialolympics.ca

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Special Olympics Canada

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