SOJ unified volleyball team departs for Panama
Jamaica’s unified volleyball 10-member delegation departed the island yesterday for Panama to compete in the Special Olympics Latin American Games, set to end April 29.
Special Olympics Jamaica (SOJ) has been playing unified volleyball extensively and the exposure will aid preparation for the 2018 World Summer Games in the United Arab Emirates.
“We’re extremely excited because this is our first unified volleyball team,” said Joan Edwards, a unified partner of the team and Jamaica’s head of delegation.
“We’re not familiar with the opponents, but we are familiar with the names of the countries. We are going to face Panama, Mexico and Uruguay, and these are very seasoned teams who have been here before, while this is out first time. However, we feel we have what it takes to make our country proud and bring home gold,” she added.
The Special Olympics unified sports programme offers people with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to play on the same team as those without for sports training and competition.
Local organisers were happy that, while there was no corporate sponsorship, individuals came forward and provided the financial support to make the trip possible.
other countries set to take part include Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic, and Venezuela.
Other sporting disciplines scheduled to be held include athletics, unified basketball, unified bocce, swimming, tennis, unified bowling, gymnastics and table tennis. Unified volleyball will take place at the Interamerican Academy.