Belfast girl Kirsty Devlin claims gold at Special Olympics

Kirsty Devlin
Kirsty Devlin

Kirsty Devlin from Belfast claimed Team Ireland’s first gold medal on day three of competition at the Special Olympic World Summer Games.

Gymnast Devlin was competing in the Rope competition in Gymnastics Rhythmic Level 1 in Collins Court Wooden Centre in UCLA where she put in a fine performance to secure her first gold.

Kirsty, who trains with SALTO Gymnastics Club in Lisburn, had a great day of competition, taking a total of four medals: two gold, two silver and a fourth place ribbon in various sections of the Gymnastics Rhythmic Level 1 competition.

And her mother Elizabeth was thrilled with her daughter’s efforts.

“I’m absolutely so proud – the tears were in my eyes, watching Kirsty. She’s just amazing.

“The whole family is so proud of her. There are four of us out here in LA supporting Kirsty – myself, my brother and his wife and my son. She’ll be a celebrity when she gets home – everyone will shake her hand and congratulate her. They all love her back in Belfast – everyone loves her.”

Day three also saw Team Ireland’s medal haul climb to an impressive 15, with 11 medals won by Irish athletes over the course of a busy third day in Los Angeles.

There was further success in gymnastics for Limerick City athlete Ashleigh O’Hagan (21) who won two bronze medals and three place ribbons in the Rhythmic Level 1 Gymnastics.

Shaun Cassidy, regional director, Special Olympics Ulster was delighted with the performances.

“It’s incredible to hear news of the fantastic success of Team Ireland securing 15 medals in three days is just amazing.

“Our congratulations go to all of the athletes and particularly Ulster’s Kirsty Devlin who won the first gold medal for Team Ireland today and four medals in total, which is a sensational achievement.

“We wish the whole team continuing success as the Games continue this week.”