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News Archive > General > Pascal stars at Special Olympics

Pascal stars at Special Olympics

By Warren Wilkins 4th October 2017

Pascal stars at Special Olympics
Pascal Latham who starred in the pool.

A disabled Newquay woman who took up swimming as a toddler to build up her muscle strength is celebrating success at the Special Olympics.

Dedicated Pascal Latham, who suffers from Shprintzen syndrome, 22q11, swam to silver in the 4x100m freestyle relay and achieved high placings in individual events at the games held in Sheffield for people with learning and physical disabilities.

The 26-year-old, who attends Cornwall College, finished fifth in the 25m backstroke, and fourth in both the 50m backstroke and 50m freestyle events.

Pascal’s mother Chris decided to take her swimming regularly from the age of 18 months as she was able to swim with greater ease than walking.

Since the age of nine Pascal has swum competitively and was the only female swimmer in Cornwall to qualify to compete at the Special Olympics.

Pascal has battled against the odds to achieve swimming success as she had been unable to walk until three years of age and could not string more than three words together until the age of eight.

She has low immunity, low calcium resulting in seizures, muscle weakness, speech difficulties, development delay, learning difficulties, epilepsy and had to wear a full body brace from the age of 13 to 16 as a result of coliosis.

Proud mum Chris, who is the South West assistant head swimming coach, said: “Small in stature but big in heart, Pascal swam to a fantastic fifth place in the shorter backstroke distance before amassing two fourth place finishes in her other individuals.

“However, she saved the best to last when, with her team-mates, they achieved a silver medal making them the second quickest team in the UK!”

The Special Olympics GB National Games take place across multiple venues in Sheffield.
Founded in the 1960s by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the sister to American President JFK, the Special Olympics is the world’s largest sports organisation for children and adults with intellectual disabilities and the official ‘Third Branch’ of the Olympics.

The National Games was attended by more than 2,600 athletes making it the largest multi-sports event for athletes with intellectual disabilities in the country.

Echoing the format of the Olympics, the athletes competing were welcomed with an opening ceremony held in Sheffield United football stadium and the official lighting of the torch.
Sports icons, musicians and celebrities from around the world sent their admiration and support for these incredible athletes with cheers and motivational words echoing around the stadium.

Chris commented: “The week with the athletes was hard work but great fun. 

“Watching these guys giving all they had in their swims, and then some, was truly inspirational and I came home feeling very proud of the South West team.

“My life has truly been enriched by the week by being a part of it. 

“I would jump at the chance to go along again in another four years. I would also like to thank everyone that donated in support of this great event.”

South West Head Swimming Coach, Brogen Latham, added: “Being able to attend and be a part of this truly inspirational event was a fantastic opportunity and one that I will never forget.

“All our swimmers were an amazing team and they should all be proud of their achievements.
“They truly were a credit to their region, their clubs and coaches and themselves.”

By Warren Wilkins 4th October 2017

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