Rutland Olympians scoop medals at games

Members of the Rutland Conquerers Inclusive Basketball club
Members of the Rutland Conquerers Inclusive Basketball club
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Rutland Conquerers (back row) Abbie Gray, Sam Burton, Chris Southwell, Sophie Garfoot and John Smith with (front row) Edward Sowter and Josh DarlingtonPhoto: Lee Hellwing

Six members of Rutland Conquerers Inclusive Basketball team were part of the East Midlands team for the Special Olympics, in Sheffield.

The competition was spread over four days for athletes with intellectual disabilities.

Conquerers’ players Chris Southwell, 24, Sam Burton, 16, Edward Sowter, 29, Sophie Garfoot, 18, Abbie Gray, 16, and Joshua Darlington, 25, took part.

They were part of three basketball teams which the East Midlands took to the games.

The A team, featuring Sam and Chris, won the bronze medal.

The B team, with Edward, Sophie and Abbie, claimed the fifth place ribbon and the C team, with Joshua, got the fourth place ribbon.

Sophie and Abbie also won a gold medal for the East Midlands team in the girl’s three versus three basketball competition.

Debbie Sowter, founder of the Rutland Conquerers, said: “We are very proud that six members of the club were selected for the East Midlands team.

“We are also proud of how they got on.

“It was fantastic. The players loved it.

“The standard they were up against was incredibly high and they did well to cope with it.

“They were living away from home for a week and it was good for their independence.”

Rutland Conquerers was created ten years ago and the club is based at Catmose College, Oakham.

The team plays friendly games and does not compete in a league.

The Special Olympics are held every four-years and 2,600 athletes take part in a variety of sports including basketball, athletics, cycling and golf.

Player Sam Burton, of Oakham, said: “The Special Olympics was great fun and we had a good time.

“I really enjoyed it and I came back with a bronze medal.

“I’m really proud that I won it.”

Rutland Conquerers hold a training session on Wednesday nights from 7pm at Catmose College, lead by Debbie and fellow coach John 

Details on the team for people interested in joining can be found on the club’s Facebook page.