Liverpool is to host the Special Olympics GB Summer Games 2021, it has been announced.
The 2017 games in Sheffield generated an economic benefit to the city of more than £3.2 million.
Taking place at venues across the city from 3-7 August 2021, it will be the biggest multi-sport tournament Liverpool has ever staged.
This will be the first time that the Special Olympics GB National Summer Games has been held in Liverpool city centre, although Kirkby did host the first ever games in 1982.
Venues for the games will include Greenbank Sports Academy, Wavertree Athletics Village and ACC Liverpool.
Special Olympics GB and Liverpool City Council say a “spectacular” opening and closing ceremony at Sefton Park and Echo Arena Liverpool will trigger a “major cultural programme for the games” – with a legacy plan set to include an annual festival and a new intellectual disability forum.
Over 2,000 athletes will take part in a wide range of sports including athletics, boccia, football, gymnastics, swimming, and the motor activities training programme for people with multiple cognitive disabilities.
Special Olympics GB is the largest registered charity providing year-round sports training and competition opportunities for people with intellectual (learning) disabilities.
Special Olympics GB’s National Summer Games is the showpiece domestic event every four years for the organisation and its athletes.
In this country, Special Olympics GB serves over 10,000 registered athletes annually through almost 150 volunteer-led local clubs and 19 regions
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson says: “Liverpool will deliver an inspirational event that provides everyone involved with ‘the time of their life’ including athletes and their families, spectators, volunteers, officials, partners and everyone watching who can be inspired by these memorable moments.”
Murton Mann, Special Olympics GB’s chairman, adds: “The people of Liverpool are well known for their warm embrace and love of sport.
“So, what better host venue for our Special Olympics GB athletes to enjoy this landmark event in the lives.
“Liverpool is the most welcoming and inclusive city and we are proud to be heading there for our national games.
“The economic benefit of hosting our national games in Sheffield in 2017 was over £3.2m and we hope that Liverpool will enjoy similar benefits in addition to the magical and priceless atmosphere this Special Olympics’ event will create.”