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Special Olympians turn out for founder

Special Olympics athlete Linda King in action on the bocce court.

It was a sports day of fun, friendship and frolic when a celebration of the legacy of Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver took centre-stage at the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex on Saturday.The theme of this year’s EKS Day was “Play Unified to Live Unified”. Unified Sports is a Special Olympics initiative which brings together athletes with intellectual challenges and individuals without disabilities to train and compete on the same team, and the Barbados EKS Day was an experience of Unified Sports at its best.

Three events were held in the Barbados EKS Competition Fun Day: bocce, five-a-side football and a 2 km walk/run race. Bocce is a bowling game of Roman origin, requiring excellent hand-eye coordination.

Family members, volunteers, teachers, coaches, Special Olympics board members and supporters, including a representative from the Kiwanis Club of Bridgetown, tried their skills on the bocce court alongside Special Olympics athletes.

It was Special Olympics athlete Linda King who dominated the friendly and laughter-filled competition with her skilful play. Also joining the fun were Special Olympics World Summer Games bocce medal winners Justin Edwards and Laura Sobers.

The five-a-side football saw several unified teams in action, some of which included members of the Barbados Defence Force. The Defence Force, a strong and consistent supporter, is always on hand to assist at Special Olympics events, and on Saturday, they were in the thick of the action for the fast-paced, spirited competition.

EKS Day ended with the 2km walk/run race, which was dominated by Special Olympics World Summer Games medal winner Korey Kellman, with Special Olympics athlete Raymond Delphi capturing second place. Also participating in the fun race were Special Olympics medal winners Nikita Maycock and Natalie Daniel.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver founded the Special Olympics in 1968. What began as one woman’s vision evolved into Special Olympics International – a global movement that today serves four million people with intellectual challenges in more than 170 countries, including more than 800 children and adults in Barbados.

Shriver, who was the sister of US president John F. Kennedy, died in 2009. (PR)

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