More than 100 swimmers from across the country recently got to meet five-time Paralympic swimming champion Ellie Simmonds OBE at the Special Olympics City of Hull swimming gala, thanks to Sure and its Breaking Limits Programme.

Taking place at Beverley Leisure Centre, Special Olympics City of Hull’s Swimming Gala is one of the country’s biggest sporting competitions of the year for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, with athletes aged from eight to 50 and travelling from as far as Tonbridge, Kent, and Dundee, Scotland to compete.

Ellie Simmonds OBE said: “There’s so much joy on the faces of the athletes taking part in this Special Olympics City of Hull Gala today. It’s been fantastic to meet so many of them, their coaches and the volunteers who have made this event happen in Beverley.

“Anyone can swim and today we’re seeing such a range of different ability levels, including athletes who need a little support entering the water and some athletes who are diving and swimming fast over a long distance.

“I’m a passionate believer that everyone should have the opportunity to move and take part in sport. It has given me so much in my life, such as the physical fitness elements, building confidence, being part of a team and so many characteristics that define who I am today. It’s rewarding to be part of such an inclusive event.”

The Special Olympics City of Hull Gala event was delivered by a team of 35 volunteers from the host club and, in-keeping with Special Olympics competitions around the world, athletes were divisioned to compete in two races each, which varied in distance between 25 and 200 metres.

Bríd Loubani, Secretary, Safeguarding & Welfare Officer of Special Olympics City of Hull, said: “Ellie is a fantastic role model and we’re very grateful to have her here, through Sure Breaking Limits, meeting athletes and learning about their individual journeys in sport.

“Everyone deserves an opportunity to participate in sport. We have a team of volunteers at Special Olympics City of Hull who, not only create big events like this gala, but provide regular swimming and gymnastics training each week for local people with intellectual disabilities.

“Through sport, our athletes gain so much, with opportunities to compete, locally, regionally nationally and some even competed overseas. It's not just about being an elite athlete we are passionate about including all levels of ability and strength. We’re keen to grow and support even more athletes in the Humberside region and welcome more volunteers who can create these transformational sporting opportunities.”

Special Olympics City of Hull’s weekly swimming sessions take place 2.45-3.45pm every Saturday at Woodford Leisure Centre, with gymnastics 7-8pm every Monday evening at the Tigers Trust. Please contact Janet Nolan on for further details.

Across the country, Special Olympics Great Britain is the largest provider of sports training and competition for children and adults with an intellectual disability.

Operating in England, Scotland and Wales, the charity has more than 6,600 athletes benefitting from opportunities in 27 different sports, which are delivered by a devoted team of 3,800 volunteers.

As the world’s number one antiperspirant and deodorant brand, Sure is proud to make products that keep millions of people staying fresh while on the move – but is committed to going further, by breaking down the barriers holding people back from moving more. In partnership with leading sport for development NGOs including Special Olympics, Sure’s Breaking Limits Programme gives young people access to positive role models, a sense of belonging and a safe, inclusive space to move.

Through its free, digital training series the programme upskills grassroots coaches with the resources and knowledge to deliver inclusive and inspirational sessions for the young people they work with.