A contingent of over 1000 persons comprising athletes, coaches and volunteers converged at the Hasely Crawford Stadium and environs for the 35th Special Olympics National Games. The annual event provides athletes with the opportunity to test their skills practiced throughout the year.
This year’s disciplines included: athletics, aquatics, basketball, bocce, equestrian, football and volleyball along with a special introduction to ‘SNAG’ (Starting New At Golf).
As unified competitions become more popular within Special Olympics system, it was of course incorporated into this year’s Games, with a unified football match played along with students of the St James Secondary School.
This year, the ‘Healthy Athletes’ programme - which offers health services and information to athletes, was re-introduced to the Games. The athletes were given free ears, eyes and mouth screenings conducted by medical students of the University of the West Indies.
Local soca artiste, Erphaan Alves, was on point to cheer on the athletes and even volunteered at the Diego Martin Swimming Pool. Alves said that he thoroughly enjoyed the experience and was amazed by the talent he had seen throughout the day.
The day’s proceedings concluded with the much-anticipated concert comprising performances by Digicel Rising Star winners Kay Alleyne and Julene John as well as Jason “Fridge” Seecharan of H2O Phlo. The evening ended with the symbolic lighting of the cauldron by athlete Rondell Quammie of the National Centre for Persons with Disabilities.