‘It’s coming home!’ - delight as Sunderland lad to bring home gold medal after Great Britain’s football team win at Special Olympics

‘It’s coming home!’ - a Sunderland lad will be bringing home gold after the Great Britain’s football team won in the Special Olympics World Summer Games.

Tuesday, 19th March 2019, 4:35 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th March 2019, 4:43 pm
Liam Lister (centre) and the team after their win

Liam Lister, of Hylton Castle, and his fellow players in the GB squad won 3-1 against Australia in the tournament’s final to bring home the trophy. 

The 22-year-old, who has a rare genetic condition, was picked to play in the World Summer Games in Abu Dhabi having only started playing the sport four years ago.

Liam Lister with Museum founder Michael Ganley (L) and volunteer team

Liam, who is an ambassador with the Fans Museum project on Wearside, only had a limited number of training sessions with his team-mates this year but that didn’t stop the team making it all the way yesterday.

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Liam, who also plays for Beamish Dynamos, has KBG syndrome, a condition which affects several body systems including sight, hearing, learning difficulties and more.

Despite his health problems, he has progressed hugely since getting involved with the Fans Museum.

Liam had high hopes for the tournament and speaking to the Echo before flying out Liam said: “I’ve only played for the past four or five years so it’s amazing to get the chance to go and play.

Liam after the game

“It’s the first time I’ll have been abroad but all of the lads get on with each other so we’re really looking forward to it.

“I’m sure we’ll enjoy it and hopefully we can win the tournament.”

Goals from Steve Law Bate, Joe McKenzie and Derek Taylor put the GB team ahead at half time and they managed to hold onto their lead to take home the gold. 

The squad, which competes in a seven-a-side format, flew to Dubai on Thursday March 7 before heading to Abu Dhabi for the competition.

Liam with mother June Lister

Back in Britain, The Fans Museum founder Michael Ganley said: “Seeing Liam develop the way he has in the last seven months is immense.

“No doubt my pride is a tiny percentage compared to what his parents must be feeling right now.

“The whole team here are extremely proud of him hopefully this will give him so much more confidence.

“He did so well to get through the trials and be picked for the team. He’s been beaming.

“It was the first time he’s been abroad too, what a memorable experience for him.

“He’s so excited, it’s a true success story for him.”