Special Olympics Jamaica continues partnership with Digicel Foundation

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

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Special Olympics Jamaica (SOJ), in partnership with Digicel Foundation, is set to send three unified teams to the 2019 World Summer Games in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

The teams will be part of an expected 98-athlete contingent representing the country in March, 2019. The concept of a unified team is a fast-growing initiative that brings people with and without intellectual disabilities together on the same team to compete against other teams.

It is designed to enable athletes to learn new sports, refine their athletic skills, work closely as a team, form friendships, and participate in activities outside of traditional Special Olympics events.

“This upcoming experience will offer a unique training and competitive experience for the athletes and, on top of training hard, we expect them to do even better because of the motivational boost that the unified concept brings to the team,” explained SOJ Executive Director Lorna Bell.

In underlining Jamaica's pioneering role in the region, Bell disclosed that SOJ will be the only one from the Caribbean to participate in the upcoming unified football competition to be held in Chicago this July. The hosting of the event marks the 50th anniversary of the Special Olympics.

Jean Lowrie-Chin, chairman of Digicel Foundation, expressed her company's unwavering support for the special olympics movement.

“As a friend of the Special Needs community, we are once again very proud to help prepare another contingent of athletes to take on the rest of the world. This partnership has been going since 2004 and we have no doubt that they will once again represent our country and themselves well,” Lowrie-Chin said.

The 2019 Special Olympics will feature seven days of competition in 24 sporting activities, including track and field, football, badminton, basketball, beach volleyball, bocce, bowling, golf, powerlifting, cycling, kayaking, open water swimming, roller skating, sailing and triathlon.

Judged competitions will include judo, artistic gymnastics and rhythmic gymnastics.

United Arab Emirates is the first country in the Middle East - North Africa region to host the Special Olympics. SOJ has been participating in the Games since 1983.

Special Olympics is a global organisation that has been providing year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities since 1968. These activities give the athletes continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in the sharing of gifts, skills and friendship.

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