A Montrose athlete will be heading to Los Angeles next year to compete in the Special Olympics World Summer Games.
Simon Richardson (49), who has Down’s Syndrome, will be representing team GB for table tennis and is the only sportsman from Tayside and Angus to be competing the 2015 games for his sport.
He said: “I feel honoured to have been picked. I’m on cloud nine. I’m really looking forward to going.”
Simon added it will be the “perfect” way to celebrate his 50th birthday, which is next year.
There are only four table tennis players with intellectual disabilities from Angus and Tayside who compete, including Simon, and all four are from Montrose.
Simon has been playing table tennis for around seven years and last year he won gold in the men’s singles category and bronze in the men’s doubles at the Special Olympics GB 2013 National Summer Games in Bath. He trains on a Thursday night at Montrose Sports Centre.
His father was Fletcher Richardson, who was Minister at Montrose Methodist Church for three years. He worked in the ministry for more than 60 years, as well as working as a BBC Radio Blackburn presenter for a number of years. He died in 2007 following a stroke.
“My dad would be over the moon. He would have said ‘that’s my boy’” said Simon.
As well as playing table tennis, Simon has also competed in swimming and athletics. In 1993 he won a gold and silver medal at the Special Olympics National Summer Games in Sheffield for athletics and in 1997 he came away with gold and silver for swimming at the Special Olympics Great Britain in Portsmouth.
He said: “I’m a very active person and I like the variety of doing different sports.”
To pay for his travel and expenses for the 2015 World Games Simon needs to raise £3,000. To raise some of the funds, he will be doing a sponsored swim.
The Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles take places from July 25 to August 2015 when 7,000 Special Olympics athletes from 177 nation will be competing.