Lisburn teenager looks forward to representing Ireland in gymnastics at the Special Olympics World Games
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Jonathan, 19, who lives in Ballinderry, is one of four artistic gymnasts who will form the team competing to take gold in this year’s games.
Jonathan, who has a learning disability, has been training in gymnastics since he was a child and has been supported by his family all the way.
"We fostered Jonny when he was a baby and then adopted him,” explained mum Sue.
"We started him at Gymnastics when he was about five because he was always full of energy, upside down on the sofa and pushing himself up and down between the chairs!
"He originally trained in Salto but we realised he needed a class specifically for children with learning difficulties so when he was about seven or eight we moved him to Special Olympics in Belvoir Activity Centre. He now trains with Anthony Monaghan in LX Gymnastics Dunmurry.”
Jonathan is no stranger to the competitive arena but this will be his first time at the Special Olympics World Games.
"He has taken part in the All Ireland Games in Limerick in 2013, competed in British Championships in England and Wales but this is his biggest achievement so far,” continued mum Sue.
"He is delighted to be chosen for the Ireland Team and looking forward to going to Berlin.
"He goes from Dublin and is away for two weeks. There is another Gymnast from Spa, Ballynahinch attending too and a girl from Newtownards. The other member of the Team is from the South.”
Sue is delighted with Jonathan’s achievements over the years and it has been a huge boost to his confidence after struggling at school when he was younger.
"We are of course very, very proud of him,” said Sue. “It's great that he has achieved this as school was very difficult for him.”
Whilst Jonathan is passionate about gymnastics, he also has other talents, having won a gold medal in judo and he even races lawnmowers!
Good luck to Jonathan and the rest of the Ireland team.