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Special Olympians show their mettle

Special Olympics Barbados did the broken trident proud and returned home from the 2015 Los Angeles Special Olympics World Games last night to a resounding welcome.

As Kadooment Day celebrations climaxed the special athletes arrived just after 9 p.m. with a total of 17 medals that included eight gold, five silver and four bronze demonstrating just how outstandingly well they performed at the Los Angeles Games.

Barbados football team (in blue uniform) in celebration after defeating Hong Kong at the Special Olympics.
Barbados football team (in blue uniform) in celebration after defeating Hong Kong at the Special Olympics.

Speaking to the media, head track coach Roger Dyall said the games that ran from July 25 to August 2 were not simple but were very intense.

“I think that everyone did outstandingly well. This competition is not simple, it is very intense, very high quality and actually some of these athletes are running at Pan Am Games and Central American and Caribbean Games and so on. They are actually competing for their country in other international meets so our athletes doing so well in this competition shows that we can compete at that level also,” said Dyall who is also the training director for Special Olympics Barbados.

Dyall added that heading into the final day of the Games many of the Barbadian athletes did not have a medal, which meant they had to form a strategy in order to win or at least medal in the relays.

“Going into the last day a few of the athletes did not have any medals so we were planning. We knew that if they would just stick the baton and run that we would have won but we are dealing with people with certain challenges and they were very nervous at first but I was able to watch from the vantage points and the plans that we put in place were executed perfectly because they just ran and ran really fast,” he said.

Among the eight gold medalists was Tyson Browne who landed Barbados’ first gold medal in the 400 meters and that was followed by another gold in the 800m. Other gold medallists were Felicia McLennan in bocce singles, Abbygaile Mayers in the 25m backstroke, Kofi Cadogan in the 25m freestyle and Leander Brathwaite captured a gold in golf. The male 4x100m relay team that comprised Tyson Browne, Raymond Delphi, Korey Kellman and Akintunde Hall were victorious. The female team did not disappoint as they also won the 4x100m thanks to excellent running by Sharnara Cain, Rosie Murray, Nikita Maycock and Tiffany Branch.

Nikita Maycock and Tiffany Branch respectively captured silver in their 100m races. Meanwhile Barbados’ Seven-a-Side football team took silver when that competition took place. The team was made up of Karlitos Adamson, Marquis Alleyne, Tre Best, Ajani Blackman, Razzaq Goddard, Shaquon Harding, Nicholas Jordan, Shaquille Lewis, Adam Thompson and Richad Williams-Barrow.

In unified bocce the home team did well enough to take silver thanks to the team that was made up of McLennan, Patrick Hinds, Nadia McLennan and Rico Wiggins.  In bocce doubles Hinds and Wiggins also landed silver again.

Hinds had a good outing in bocce as he also claimed bronze in the singles. Felicia and Nadia McLennan also took bronze in the bocce doubles. Korey Kellman and Nikita Maycock both produced a good run to finish with respective bronze medals in the 200m.

Vice-president of Special Olympics Barbados, Elizabeth Bowen, said she was pleased with the team’s showing at the Los Angeles Games and going forward they would start to prepare early for the next upcoming games.

“We had an excellent showing in Los Angeles, I mean all of the Special Olympic athletes did their country proud, they did well, they performed at their best and they had a wonderful cultural experience in Los Angeles.

“We would have to plan early and funding would be a critical part of that planning because coming on to the day we had to leave we would have reviewed our finances and realized that planning for the World Games actually takes the entire four years. So that is a key area that as a team in Special Olympic Barbados we can work on as early as possible,” Bowen explained.

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