It was a truly memorable day for athletes from Special Olympics Barbados who braved the rain to compete in the annual track and field meet which took place at the National Stadium today.
Almost 800 athletes from several schools and special units, as well as a number of independent participants, took part in the exciting athletics programme which started about 10 a.m.
The athletes’ motto which says “Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt” was outstandingly exemplified in the various events which included the 10m, 25m, 50m, 100m, 200m, 400m and 1500m, along with the cricket ball throw and long jump.
There were all winners today and among them was Shena Jordan of Ann Hill School in the 10m wheelchair race, Nathan Wiltshire of Erdiston Special Unit in the 8-10 boys 400m. Ashley Clarke of Hilda Skeene captured the girls’ 8-11 25m.
The Learning Centre dominated the cricket ball throw which was won by Kemar Butcher with a throw of 37.15m. His schoolmate Deshon Skeete challenged him all the way and was second with a toss of 35.85m.
Malik Bynoe of St Matthew’s won the 8-11 boys 200m while Dario Waithe of Alma Parris gave his school something to shout about when he slammed the field in the 800m ahead of Alma Parris’ Shaquon Harding who came second.
Rasheeda Woodroofe of Charles F. Broome claimed the girls 8-11 50m dash, while Christian Callender of Early Sunshine Stimulation Centre had a comfortable win in the 8-11 boys 50m.
Challenor Creative Arts Centre also captured gold through Darren Mason who ran away from the field to win the 100m in the men’s race. Also starring in the 100m which involved participants age 22 to 29 was independent athlete Nikita Maycock who slammed the field in her event. Another independent Korey Kellman was also in fine form winning the equivalent race among the men.
Chairman of Special Olympics Barbados, Donna King-Brathwaite was among the many volunteers on hand and she told Barbados TODAY that they were very satisfied that the annual event went according to plan.
“With any event of this size you are likely to get some challenges but the most important thing for us at Special Olympics Barbados is that the athletes are happy, they are competing and they are giving of their best,” Brathwaite said.
Brathwaite added that among the things on which they continued to focus, and needed to advance the programmes, were more volunteer support and increased financial assistance.
“We try to ensure we get the level of volunteer support. We have been doing our volunteer drive but we need more volunteer support. We need more hands on deck and the more hands on deck, the more we can do given that we have almost eight hundred athletes in the competition today.
“Of course we always need financial assistance for the things that we are doing and that too has its drawbacks when it’s not actually present. So we’ve had to cut and contrive and be rather smart in how we produce what we are producing today. But we are working in every way to improve on our offerings to the Special Olympics athletes, especially at these national games,” Brathwaite said.
Those with disabilities are celebrated in the month of March and the chairman said they wanted to ensure that persons with intellectual challenges in Barbados always had the opportunity to be part of a developmental programme and this was what Special Olympics Barbados represented.