Warm welcome home in Gosport as Michael wins gold at Special Olympics

Michael MacGurk with family and friends at Nelson's Bar in Gosport to celebrate his gold medal win at the Special Olympics Summer Games ''Picture: Paul Jacobs (151035-1)
Michael MacGurk with family and friends at Nelson's Bar in Gosport to celebrate his gold medal win at the Special Olympics Summer Games ''Picture: Paul Jacobs (151035-1)
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Pictures by Ellie Pilmoor

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  • Footballer Michael MacGurk won a gold medal in the Special Olympics
  • The 19-year-old, from Gosport, was part of the winning 11-a-side football squad who won 5-3 on penalties in the final
  • Michael was given a big welcome home at Nelson’s Bar in Gosport
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STAR footballer Michael MacGurk was given a welcome to remember after winning gold at the Special Olympics.

The 19-year-old has returned from Los Angeles after competing in the international event.

He won gold for his role in the Team GB’s 11-a-side football squad after they battled it out against Bangladesh in the final, beating them 5-3 on penalties after an intense 3-3 game.

Michael, who is a big football fan and supports Pompey, said: ‘It was such a great atmosphere out there and there was so much support.

‘I almost didn’t go because I have a fear of flying but I am so happy that I did.

‘We had no idea we could go on to win but for our practice games, we won two and drew the other so we were feeling confident after that.

It was such a great atmosphere out there and there was so much support.

Michael MacGurk

‘It was a nervous 90 minutes during the last game especially when it went to penalties but luckily, fate was on our side.’

Michael, who lives in Gosport, got into football after moving to Durham and joining the Beamish Dynamos.

It was through the team that he started training with the Team GB squad last year leading up to the Special Olympic games this summer.

His dad Martin said he was proud of what his son had achieved.

‘It was such a great experience for him and I’m so pleased he got the chance to take part,’ he said.

‘I am so proud of him and what he’s won.

‘We were all keeping updated on the tournament on Facebook and it was fantastic to hear that they’d won.’

The homecoming party was organised by Jason Bodie-Browne, from Nelson’s in Gosport high street.

It was a great chance for Michael to tell his family and friends about the games and he appreciated the effort put in by the pub.

He added: ‘The homecoming was great and everyone wanted to see my medal.

‘Coming back home was fantastic and it was nice to see everyone.’

The Special Olympics had around 6,500 athletes take part at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum where the 1984 Olympics were held.

The games are held every two years for people with a range of learning disabilities.