Minster Law’s Mark Mason has clinched a gold medal in the boccia singles event at this year’s Special Olympics Great Britain in Sheffield. The administrative assistant, who has a form of autism, was competing at the national summer games on 7-12 August as part of the Yorkshire & Humberside boccia team and won three out of four of his solo games, placing him in first position overall.
Since its formation in 1978, Special Olympics Great Britain has transformed the lives of thousands of people through sport. Held every four years, the Special Olympics is now the country’s largest multi-sports event for athletes with intellectual disabilities and represents a huge opportunity for both adults and children to come together and compete at a national level. The event attracts 2,600 athletes from across the country as well as the support of 800 coaches, 750 volunteers, 150 officials and over 5,000 family and friends.
Mark was first introduced to boccia through his social worker seven years ago and his obvious talent for the unusual sport lead to him joining the York special needs team before he was chosen to be part of the Yorkshire & Humberside Special Olympics squad. 2017 marks his second outing at the Special Olympics Great Britain, but this is his first gold medal. Mark and the other seven members of his team also took park in the doubles event at Special Olympics Great Britain and placed sixth overall.
Mark said: “I’m so pleased to come away with a gold medal in the singles event! Boccia is such a lot of fun but I also really like the social side of the Special Olympics, getting out and about and meeting new people. I particularly enjoyed the opening ceremony as TV presenter, Suzi Perry, was there, but the overall highlight for me has to be winning three out of four of the games.
“Minster Law was a massive support in the lead up to the event too – as well as enabling me to take time off work to compete, our Make a Difference team donated £1,000 to the Special Olympics City of York, which really helped the organisers of the event.”
Mark’s boccia coach, Carol Walker, said: “Mark can sometimes struggle with his nerves in competitions but did brilliantly in the singles events – three out of four wins was a fantastic achievement and I couldn’t be happier for him!
“The Special Olympics is a fantastic opportunity for the athletes to get to know each other and the volunteers do a superb job – none of them are paid and some of them have to travel a long way just to make sure the event can happen.”
Minster Law Managing Director, Michael Warren, added: “What an outstanding achievement! Mark is such an inspiration to us all and everyone at Minster Law is so proud of what he has been able to achieve at this year’s Special Olympics Great Britain. Well done!”