Special Olympics Isle of Man has now expanded the sports it can offer to youths and adults with an intellectual disability.
Special Olympics Austria’s sports director, Heinrich Olsen, and Simon Senoner, president of the Floorball Federation of Vorarlberg, visited the island and put Manx Special Olympics coaches and athletes through their paces playing floorball.
Floorball is an indoor team sport developed in the 1970s in Sweden, played in a court with five field players plus a goalkeeper in each team.
Floorball is played with plastic sticks and a light ball and with a goalkeeper without a stick.
Floorball has similarities with hockey and the main objective is to score more goals than the opposite team.
For Special Olympics the game is slightly modified from the ‘regular’ form of floorball. Matches are played three versus three with goalkeepers, on a smaller court that measures 20m long by 12m wide.
This form of floorball was developed for the intellectually disabled, and was a demonstration sport at the 2013 Special Olympics world winter games.
The training weekend ended with the first Special Olympics floorball competition to be held on Manx soil.
A team led by Heinrichm who narrowly defeated a team led by the Isle of Man sports director Adrian Mooney.
Mr Mooney said: ‘All the athletes who took part had a wonderful experience and made new friends.
‘Over the weekend the athletes took to this new sport with great enthusiasm and over the two days the improvement in the standard of play was very promising.’
He added that Ryan Aitken (defence) and Jason Fox (goal stop) showed great determination and skill particularly during the completion on the Sunday afternoon.
‘It was a fantastic way to start the sporting year and burn off some of the excess pounds gained over the Christmas period,’ added Mr Mooney.
To cap the weekend all the equipment used was donated to the Isle of Man Special Olympic team to help further develop the sport of floorball.
Anyone interested in joining Special Olympics Isle of Man as an athlete or coach can contact the group on 853850 or email firstname.lastname@example.org