Press Release

Minister Callely Congratulates Summerhill Active Retirement Group Athletes on Gold and Bronze medal wins at World Senior Games

Gold Medal for Ireland

Mr Ivor Callely, T.D. Minister for Services for Older People, today (15 October 2003) congratulated Summerhill Active Retirement Group Athletes on gold and bronze wins at the World Senior Games in Utah.

Gerry Smyth, the 96 retired teacher participating in the games, has won gold for Ireland in the 5km walk. His tremendous win follows hot on the heels of Gerry’s victory in the European Games in Belgium in April last. Gerry was the oldest competitor in the games along with another 96 year old man from California.

May Westhall from Summerhill was another medal winner at the Games with a bronze. Other team Ireland athletes came 4th and 5th in their events. The team will return from the States this Thursday, 16 October to Dublin Airport.

Minister Callely, welcoming the athletes´ home, said: “Fit and active older people, happily, comprise the majority of older people in Ireland today. I applaud the achievements of Gerry, May and all of their team-mates, and am pleased that they can stand as an example to other older persons who may think that they are no longer able to participate in the sporting arena. Gerry in particular has proved that an active life leads to a long and happy life, no matter what your age – and it is never too late to get active.

When Gerry and the team came home from Belgium in April of last year with 3 medals I congratulated them on their achievement. I now say to every member of the team well done on this first for Ireland, and I hope that this will be the start of many years of outstanding sporting achievement on the international stage.”

The team arrive home at 11.45am on Thursday, 16 October to a reception in the Green Bar, Arrivals hall of Dublin Airport.