This Wednesday is set to be a very special occasion for a very remarkable group of people.
That is when intellectually challenged athletes from ages five to adult will have their time in the spotlight at the Special Olympics Barbados National Games Track And Field final to be held at the National Stadium. These athletes come from special units island-wide as well as some who were entered as independents.
In addition to having intellectual challenges, many Special Olympics athletes also have physical disabilities and for these reasons they are being placed in groups or heats that take into account these factors to provide an equitable level of competition. Organizers are hopeful that a huge number of spectators attend the games to help uplift the confidence of the athletes as they provide their very best performances.
Earlier this month, many of the sports people won their spots in the Special Olympics Barbados National Games Track And Field finals by competing in a preliminary track meet. Since that time they have been training and eagerly awaiting their opportunity to show Barbados how they embody the Special Olympics Athlete’s Oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”
The Special Olympics Barbados National Games are held each year in the month March, which is designated the Month Of The Disabled.
At Wednesday’s games, there will be a full slate of both track and field events. Sprints will be run in various divisions from 25 metres to 200 metres. The middle-distances will test how well the athletes have learned to pace themselves and save enough for that big, thrilling kick at the end with the entire National Stadium cheering them on.
The relays are always expected to be exciting as the athletes combine their own skills with those of other team members. In the field, individual coordination and determination will take over the competition in the shot put, the long jump and the baseball throw.
During this month, the Special Olympics Barbados Bocce Tournament was started and will be completed on a later date to be announced. On May 16, the focus will shift to yet another sport with the Special Olympics Barbados National Games Cricket Tournament. The National Games Football tournament will be held later in October.