Meet the determined

Special Olympics Jamaica announces delegation for World Summer Games

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

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Lorna Bell, the Special Olympics Jamaica (SOJ) executive director, says athletes have been drawn from all over the island for the Word Summer Games in United Arab Emirates next March.

During a press conference held at the SOJ multi-purpose complex last month, the local body announced the names of the 73 athletes set to participate at the games. The Jamaican delegation will also comprise 22 coaches, two officials and a medical practitioner.

“Our delegation is a true representation of Jamaica as our athletes are from several parishes. Our programme stretches across all 14 parishes, and we encourage communities to rally behind athletes as they get ready to showcase their talent to the world,” Bell told the Jamaica Observer in a recent interview.

“Our delegation comprises dedicated and determined athletes, falling in line with the #Meetthedetermined promotional hashtag for the games.”

Athletes hail from St Thomas, St Mary, Portland, St Catherine, Clarendon, Manchester, Westmoreland, St Ann, Trelawny, St James, Kingston and St Andrew.

The Jamaicans are set to compete in athletics, badminton, bocce, skating and swimming, unified basketball, unified football (men's and women's teams), and unified volleyball at the 2019 Abu Dhabi Games.

Some other sporting disciplines to be staged are beach volleyball, table tennis, tennis, cycling, kayaking, sailing, triathlon, equestrian, judo, gymnastics, bowling, golf, and powerlifting.

Speaking at the press conference, Bell noted the broad-based effort that has gone into the preparation.

“We want to thank people, especially the individuals who have answered our call and have helped us over the last two years with training, securing meals, assisting with transportation, [and] nutrition.

“The hundreds of hours of time spent and effort by our coaches must not go unnoticed. Our preparation has been good. The unity and love that I have experienced, and the support from the coaches, parents and volunteers — all digging deep — has energised me,” the SOJ executive director said.

Bell continued: “We are proud and confident in saying that we collectively stayed true to the principles of this movement. We are all working together towards common goals. We have to look at the bigger picture — it is all about Jamaica. We will continue to work hard and keep the momentum as we look to make Jamaica shine in Abu Dhabi and in Dubai.”

Special Olympics is an international movement that provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports, for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

The intellectual disabilities can either be acquired or genetic, and can include cases of cerebral palsy, Down's syndrome, autism, and traumatic brain injury.

The unified programme brings people with and without intellectual disabilities together on the same team during competition.

— Sanjay Myers

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