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Meet three Devon athletes competing in the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles

PUBLISHED: 14:18 15 June 2015 | UPDATED: 14:19 15 June 2015

Steven Dodd, Daniel Weston and Elizabeth Haywood

Steven Dodd, Daniel Weston and Elizabeth Haywood

Graeme Brown/GeeBee Images

Three Devon athletes will fly to California next month to represent Great Britain in the 14th Special Olympics World Summer Games.

Elizabeth HaywoodElizabeth Haywood

Steven Dodd, Elizabeth Haywood and Daniel Weston will join more than 100 other UK athletes competing in the games which take place from 25 July to 2 August in Los Angeles.

This is the first time in 16 years that the games will be held in America.

More than 7,000 athletes from 170 countries are expected to compete at the Games and enjoy nine days full of joy and friendship. The athletes will compete in 28 sports. 21 of these sports are Olympic type sports. There will be an expected 500,000 spectators and around 30,000 volunteers at the event.

Special Olympics around the world has one thing in common – a passionate commitment to promoting respect, acceptance, inclusion, accomplishment and human dignity for people with intellectual disabilities through sports and forming a new global vision of acceptance.

Steven DoddSteven Dodd

The three Devon athletes are:

Steven Dodd, from Plymouth:

Steven will compete in the kayaking events. The 40-year-old says he became interested in kayaking after watching a war film about the exploits of the Cockleshell Heroes of World War Two.

He trains locally and goes regularly to the gym. He is extremely active around his community and is currently doing fundraising to cover his costs of travelling to LA.

He says: “I was a volunteer for five years, motivating teams to fundraise for projects and trips for disadvantaged people. I was nominated and then selected for a Young Achievers award and attended a reception by the Queen at Buckingham Palace meeting her and Prince Charles plus other Royals, following this I organised the first ever fully disabled Princes’ Trust team, having asked Prince Charles for permission.

“I spent three days visiting the Houses of Parliament as a guest of Gary Streeter, my MP in Plymouth. I have also done Mission work with Smile International on five separate occasions. I enjoy drawing portraits and love art. I also enjoy camping and dog-showing.

“Besides kayaking I also like archery and shooting. I have done, running biking, swimming, climbing, abseiling, walking, camping, hand to hand combat, disc javelin, shot putt, roll skate, ice skating, horse riding, pool and snooker.”

Elizabeth Haywood, from Plymouth:

Elizabeth will compete in the badminton events.

She is the great-grandchild of footballer Fred Bastin, so it goes to show sports runs in the blood. Aside from the calm competitiveness of that badminton has to offer, Elizabeth likes to think she’s fearless with a desire to perform an aeroplane jump. When she’s not doing badminton training, she can be found playing Tennis winning the game at bowling, going to night clubs, sat in front of the television, computer games or Facebook.

Daniel Weston, from Barnstaple:

With a five day a week intensive training week, every week, Daniel is dedicated to his sport. He loves all genres of music as well as dancing, and enjoys cooking too. Although he is participating as a cyclist for Special Olympics GB, Daniel also takes part at high level swimming, where he has won medals at a national level. Besides competitive sporting, Daniel loves table tennis and 10 pin bowling as pure relaxation. He will return to his hometown later this year after completing a three year hotel work course as well as gaining independence skills.

Click here to find put more about all the athletes and the Special Olympics World Summer Games.

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