THURSDAY, 18 MAY 2023: PORT OF SPAIN, TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO – The Special Olympics Trinidad and Tobago (SOTT) National Games officially opened on Saturday, 13 May 2023, with over 500 athletes set to participate this year following a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic. The National Games is a multi-sport event staged at various venues simultaneously, showcasing the talents of Special Olympics athletes in Athletics, Basketball, Bocce, Equestrian, Football, Powerlifting, Swimming and Volleyball. Its return puts Trinidad and Tobago’s Special Olympics athletes on the road to Berlin for the Special Olympics World Games in June 2023.
At the opening of the National Games, Mr. Patrice Charles, Assistant Director of Physical Education and Sport in the Ministry of Sport and Community Development, congratulated the SOTT and its athletes on overcoming the challenges of COVID-19 and returning to competition with such excitement and grandeur. The event is also significant for being the first National Games opening ceremony to be held at the Manny Ramjohn Stadium, since the SOTT Secretariat opened its doors there in 2022.
During a tour of the SOTT’s Secretariat, Former First Lady and Patron of Special Olympics Trinidad and Tobago Mrs. Zalayhar Hassanali expressed her delight at the transformation of the facility. The space was provided by SporTT in collaboration with the Ministry of Sport and Community Development. Through the Digicel Foundation’s investment of TT $466,000, it was renovated from a shell of a building with nothing but a dirt floor to a fully-equipped home for the SOTT. Mrs Hassanli commended the SOTT on what she considered to be the most significant accomplishment of the space – its potential to provide employment opportunities for the SOTT community, who will assist with running the storage facility, the reception area, and the office.
For 2023, the Digicel Foundation has invested a total of TT $330,000 towards the SOTT to support the National Games, the World Games, and the continued operationalisation of its Secretariat at Mannie Ramjohn Stadium.
The National Games continue until Saturday, 27 May. The public is encouraged to attend the events in support of the national Special Olympics athletes as they continue to break barriers and shatter stereotypes. The Digicel Foundation will be on location at the various games running its #BeAFan Campaign, giving away specially created t-shirts to the loudest, most expressive fans in the stands.
The upcoming National Games schedule includes:
18 May 2023: Tobago Games, Shaw Park Recreational Facility, Tobago, 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
20 May 2023: Bocce, Manny Ramjohn Stadium, Marabella, 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
21 May 2023: Volleyball, Southern Regional Indoor Sports Arena, Pleasantville, San Fernando, 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
21 May 2023: Equestrian, Police Mounted and Canine Branch, Long Circular Road, St. James, 9:00 a.m. -2:00 p.m.
27 May 2023: Football, St. Mary’s Football Field, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
27 May 2023: Swimming, Diego Martin Swimming Pool, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m