World swimmers in Albufeira.jpg

World swimmers in Albufeira


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AROUND 200 ATHLETES from 24 countries took part in the fourth Down syndrome World Swimming Championships, which started on November 27 and finished yesterday (Thursday) in Albufeira.

The First Lady, Maria Cavaco Silva, who was present at the official opening ceremony at Albufeira’s municipal swimming pools on Saturday, November 29, said: “You cannot imagine the happiness and honour that I feel to be here at the opening of this championship. It has been my mission to call people’s attention to those who are different and it is with great emotion that I welcome all the participants to this event.”

She also complemented Mannie de Fátima NG, a swimmer from the Portuguese team, saying that she is a credit to her sport.

Albufeira Câmara President,  Desidério Silva, said: “It is a privilege to provide the use of these municipal swimming pools for such an important event.  On this day, Albufeira is the world capital for disability sports.”

João Pardal, President of the Associação Nacional de Desporto para a Deficiência Intelectual (ANDDI), the national sport association for people with intellectual disability congratulated Albufeira Câmara for hosting the event.

Including Mannie, Portugal’s team had 18 swimmers, coached by José Luís Côrte-Real. Other countries competing included the UK, the US, Australia, Taiwan, Hong-Kong, Brazil and Venezuela.

By the second day of the championship, Portugal’s team had won two gold medals, broke one world record and five national records.

Having won a gold medal in the 200m backstroke, Mannie went on to become world champion in the 100m breast stroke with a record time of 1:53.15m.

After receiving her results, Mannie said: “I am very happy; it is a special feeling to win two gold medals in Portugal.”

José Luís Côrte-Real, Portugal’s team coach, said on Tuesday: “This day has been very important for the team; these results mean that they will gain even more confidence.”

Mark Holmes and Sarah Louise Casey were part of the British team at the world championships<BR data-lazy-src=

British champions go for gold

A TOTAL of 23 British athletes were in Portugal in pursuit of medals at the championships in Albufeira.

In an exclusive interview, British athletes Mark Holmes and Sarah Louise Casey spoke to The Resident about their love for swimming and their hopes for this world championships.

“I learnt to swim when I was six years old, but started competing when I was 17,” said Sarah Louise, who is now 23. “I train regularly with my club and four times a year with the national team.”

Mark told The Resident that he has been swimming for 18 years. “I learnt to swim when I was three with my sister, but I started to compete when I was a teenager.”

Both athletes said that they love winning when they compete and are hoping to take home some medals from this competition.

“Both Mark and Sarah Louise hold world record titles for swimming so they are going to battle hard to keep them,” said their coach, Harry Wild. “They train very hard, along with the other 21 team members.”

Sarah Louise competed in the very first world championship which was held in Reading, UK in 2002 and has taken part in every one since then.

Diane Dart, President and one of the founding members of the Down Syndrome’s International Swimming Organisation (DSISO), told The Resident “Having been involved with the Paralympics committee, I found that people with Down syndrome could not compete, so it was decided to create this championship.”

She said that after the first event in 2002, which included five countries and around 30 athletes, the championship has grown in size each time.

The next Down Syndrome’s World Championship is due to be hosted in 2010 in Taiwan and is expected to include even more athletes and participating countries.

At the time The Resident went to press, the results for the first and second day had been released.

On the second day of the championship, Sarah Louise came fifth in the women’s 50 metre fly and third in the women’s 200 metre freestyle, while Mark Holmes won first place in the men’s 50 metre backstroke.

For full results tables of the World Championships in Albufeira, please visit the website, available in English, at