CHEADLE badminton player Emily Clarke has been struck a blow by the decision to postpone the Special Olympics GB Games a second time because of Covid-19.
The Games were due to go ahead in Liverpool this year before the coronavirus pandemic took hold and forced their postponement.
The Special Olympics GB Board responded with an announcement that the Games would be re-scheduled to place in the city in August 2021
But now Special Olympics GB have said given the "heightened risk" to those with intellectual disabilities, postponement was the "right decision".
The Games would have seen more than 2,000 athletes with learning disabilities compete in sports such as football, swimming and boccia.
It would have been the biggest multi-sport tournament Liverpool has ever staged
The difficult decision to postpone the Games a second time was made by the 2021 National Summer Games Board after careful consideration of the "ever-changing" Covid-19 situation.
It was taken after full consultation with a wide range of key stakeholders including the Special Olympics GB Board, staff, Athlete Leadership Team, home-country representatives and the local organising committee.
A Special Olympics GB spokesperson said: "It was agreed by all, that given the heightened risk to the athletes with intellectual disabilities, who are some of the most vulnerable people in our society, the uncertainty surrounding the impact of Covid-19, postponement is the right decision to protect our athletes and the integrity of the Games".
Emily, who was looking forward to making her Games debut, said: I am quite upset and unhappy, but I am awaiting more information as there is talks it may be going ahead in 2022 in another place.
"During Covid-19 I still have been practising in the back garden doing shots and having a knock-about with my family," the 26-year-old added.
Emily, a member of the Sutton Coldfield Special Olympics squad, has raised around £1,000, with generous support from the local community, to meet the cost of her taking part in the Games and providing accommodation for a carer due to her disabilities.
Emily added: "I would just like to thank everyone again in Cheadle and in the surrounding areas who have donated or sponsored me.
" I feel really overwhelmed with all the support that everybody has given me to enable me to attend the Special Olympics National Games".
Emily has been playing badminton since the age of 17, initially as a member of the North Staffs Special Olympics squad, and has won medals in competitions staged across the region.