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University staff rooting for gardener Owen at Special Olympic Games

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Grounds staff at the University of Stirling are rooting for their colleague Owen Keeble as he represents Great Britain at the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Athens this week.

Peter Copland and Owen Keeble

A University gardener, Owen has taken time out from his duties tending to the 300 acres of campus grounds to compete in equestrian events at the Games in Greece which run until 4 July.

The Games are the largest multi-sports event in the world this year, involving 185 nations and 7,500 athletes.

Owen is part of the 137-strong Great Britain team and his events, which start tomorrow (Tuesday), include dressage, horse care and knowledge, and working trials.

A keen rider for a number of years, Owen prepared for the Games attending a number of training weekends with the Great Britain squad.

Jim Struthers, Superintendent of Gardens and Grounds, passed on his best wishes. He said: “We are very proud of Owen, he is very much one of our team and on behalf of all the staff in gardens and grounds, I wish him the best of luck in Athens. I’m sure he will do his best.

“Owen is a quiet guy, but I’ve known him for many years and could tell how proud and excited he is about competing. I can’t wait to hear how he gets on and we’ll have a wee toast ready to celebrate his return. And once it all settles down, there’s plenty of weeding for him to get back to!”

University Secretary Kevin Clarke echoed his support. He said: “The University is proud that Owen is competing in the Special Olympics. He has shown great dedication to his sport over many years and is the ideal representative of Stirling as Scotland's University for Sporting Excellence. We wish him and the whole GB team every success in Athens.”

Owen is supported by the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA) and is one of two athletes representing Forth Valley Disability Sport, alongside swimmer Peter Copland, from Arion Swimming Club.

Follow Owen’s progress at www.athens2011.org/en

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