Selfie with Scherzinger and a gold medal: East Kilbride cyclist's dreams come true at Special Olympics

Ruairidh Brown’s dreams came true last week when he won cycling gold at the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi – and secured a selfie with superstar Nicole Scherzinger.

The 20-year-old from Lindsayfield gave absolutely everything to win gold in the 10km Time Trial by just three seconds.

He was so exhausted at the end of the race he had to be helped from his bike by event volunteers.

But one thing put his gold medal in the shade – his selfie with Scherzinger.

The former Pussycat Dolls singer is a Special Olympics Global Ambassador and she performed at the closing ceremony before meeting Ruairidh.

Ruairidh said: “The closing ceremony was amazing.

“Everything here has been so good and to meet Nicole Scherzinger was so cool.

“I can’t wait for the next chance to go to an event like this.

“I was really happy with my race.

Ruairidh Brown on top of the podium in Abu Dhabi

“I was watching everyone and was thinking I was going to win a medal near the end of the race.

“To have my gold, I am really happy.”

The Special Olympics cycling competition took place in the glamorous surroundings of the Yas Marina Formula 1 circuit on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi.

And for Ruairidh – who has a rare genetic condition known as KAT6A syndrome, symptoms of which include development delay and communication difficulties – this was a major bonus.

As a massive F1 fan, it was exciting for Ruairidh to take victory on the same track that one of his heroes, Lewis Hamilton, had won the F1 Grand Prix a few months earlier.

Nicole Scherzinger

Weather conditions were far removed from the cold winter weather of East Kilrbide and in the first few days of competition Ruairidh found the warm temperature and high windspeed at the circuit hard to manage.

In his first race of the competition, the 15km road race, he was disappointed to finish in fifth place.

However, a few days later he took gold and the win was all the sweeter after his dramatic day at the last World Games in Los Angeles.

Scottish Special Olympic cyclist Ruairidh Brown on his way to a gold medal

On that occasion he bravely bounced back from being knocked off his bike during the 15km race and chased the leading group on a broken bike to win a silver medal.

After the exertions of his gold medal win, Ruairidh still had the 40km road race to contest and, although giving it his all, he had to settle for fifth.

“I was really annoyed by that,” Ruairidh added. “I was in third at the last corner but I ran wide and lost my position.

“The sprint was so long and so hard. I thought I would get third but I just couldn’t make it.”

With the competition over, Ruairidh and the team went on to enjoy a star-studded evening of entertainment at the closing ceremony held at Zayed Sports City in the shadow of Abu Dhabi’s Grand Mosque.

Ruairidh was supported in Abu Dhabi by his family; mum and dad, Alison and Graeme, and little sister Molly, as well as his gran and grandpa Ann and Hugh, who had flown from Glasgow just to see him race.

East Kilbride cyclist Ruairidh Brown celebrates his gold medal win at the Special Olympics World Games with dad Graeme, sister Molly and mum Alison

Dad Graeme beamed: “As a family we are so proud of everything Ruairidh has achieved, not only at these Games, but so many more things as well.

“Ruairidh has had to balance his training over the winter with working full time as a construction labourer.

“We have also learned from the coaches within the cycling team that he has been a huge support to his fellow team-mates at these Games.”



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