STOMACH bugs, emergency operations and a country in turmoil were just a few of the obstacles at the Athens Special Olympics World Summer Games.

Despite all of this the GB team smiled all the way to the winner’s post, walking away with 187 medals including 72 gold, 63 silver and 52 bronze.

Dave Nicholson, 63, of Meltham, has been involved in the games since 1997.

Dave is chairman of Huddersfield Indoor Bowling Club.

His twin sons Barry and Steven, 33, are both Special Olympic medalists and have competed in a range of sporting fields. They are still competitive bowls players.

He was given his ‘dream job’ this year as families co-ordinator for the 230 family members who accompanied the team to the Greek capital.

He battled all the obstacles to help make the event as successful as possible.

He said: “We arrived and all athletes, coaches and anyone involved with the team went to Skiathos for four days for acclimatisation.

“We went back to Athens for the opening ceremony and we were in the holding area about to walk in at 9pm but unfortunately eight of our team members had to be taken to hospital with stomach problems.

“The ceremony went on and it was fantastic with 173 countries taking part.

“But then at midnight I found out that another 10 members of the GB team had been taken ill.

“We thought it was food poisoning but we had no confirmation from the doctor. We think the athletes picked it up in Skiathos.”

The suffering team members were able to compete in their events with many taking medals.

During the competition, Dave was faced with two other challenges.

“The main issue that affected the families was that the whole transport system came to a grounding halt.

“There were riots going on in the central area, Syntagma square was affected but people got to the games so we were all happy.”

“One of the basketball players had an acute appendicitis during one of his matches, so he had to be rushed off to hospital but was released just in time to fly home. The basketball team still came home with bronze medals.

“The whole event despite those minor obstacles was fantastic the organisers in Greece were so helpful and the team excelled.”