Maghera man going for gold at Special Olympics

James Neeson- who was selected to be part of the special Olympics
James Neeson- who was selected to be part of the special Olympics

James Neeson, 36 has always been very interested in sports and has many sporting hobbies including, golf and rugby.

He has been involved with a lot of organisations, disability and non disability from a young age.

A keen runner James is the first Down’s Syndrome participate in the Belfast Marathon, last year being his tenth where he completed the 6.4 mile leg of the marathon.

James is passionate about running and has obtained 27 gold medals and 5 silver medals in the 1500 metres and the 3000 metres.

When asked about the Olympics, James says being a part of the games is a “really good feeling” and he “can’t wait” for it to start.

James’ sister Pauline Lynch told the MAIL: “James is a outstanding person who has achieved so much in his life, even though he was born with Down’s Syndrome.”

Pauline goes on to tell us, some of James achievements, in 2005 James travelled to the Czech Republic to Represent Ireland in the European Games and came home with a silver medal.

In 2009 James was selected, with another nine athletics to represent Europe as part of an international team.

The Special Olympics athletes served as Guardians of the Flame and they delivered the “Flame of Hope” in Idaho.

James loves playing Gaelic football and plays for the Doire Disability football team.

He also travels to Belfast on Sunday mornings to train for Newforge Taggers the first ever disability tag rugby team in Ireland which on their first year James was the captain.

Pauline is understandably very proud of her brother and she says “James never let his disability get in the way of living his life to the full.”

The Special Olympics games start on Friday 13th June to Sunday 15th June, they are open to the public so feel free to go along to support the Ulster team. For more information on to Special Olympics, including how to donate, go to