Special Olympics in CARIFTA mix

SPECIAL Olympics director Gilbert Williams receives a gift from LOC intern Sherinique Sears. Looking on are Pauline Davis, Janeen McCartney and Mike Sands.

SPECIAL Olympics director Gilbert Williams receives a gift from LOC intern Sherinique Sears. Looking on are Pauline Davis, Janeen McCartney and Mike Sands.

As of Tuesday, March 14, 2023

#By BRENT STUBBS

#Senior Sports Reporter

#bstubbs@tribunemedia.net

#THE Oaktree Medical Center’s 50th CARIFTA Games over the Easter holiday weekend at the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium will have a special element to its line up with the inclusion of Special Olympics Bahamas.

#Not only has North American, Central American and Caribbean president Mike Sands granted Special Olympics the opportunity to be a part of a pilot programme for the 100 and 200 metres during the games from April 8-10, but their entire executive board and coaches were given 20 tickets from title sponsor Oaktree Medical Center to view the competition.

#At a special press conference yesterday in the Cultural Village of the eastern parking lot of the Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium, Special Olympics Bahamas director Gilbert Williams was thanking Sands for their inclusion at the games.

#Right after Williams made his speech, Oaktree Medical Center’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Don Deveaux made the announcement that they will purchase 20 tickets for Special Olympics.

#Although they have already made a donation of $300,000 as the title sponsors of the games, Deveaux said he was moved by the inclusion of Special Olympics and wanted to reward the people behind the scenes who work directly with the athletes.

#“We never want you to tire in doing good deeds,” Deveaux said. “This is just to encourage you, corporate Bahamas, and Bahamians in general that we are all in this together. With that mindset, we can see how far the country can go in general.”

#Sands said when he got the call from Williams about inclusion into the games, he conferred with his collegiates, and they agreed to accept the invitation.

#“We are all about inclusion and we are having decisions with the NACAC executives and the membership to be more inclusive of all persons to participate,” Sands said. As a pilot programme for the games, Sands said Special Olympics will be making their appearances with their special events taking place just before the finals of both the 100 and 200m during the games.

#At this late stage in the games, Sands said it will only include the participation of Special Olympic athletes from the Bahamas, but they have formed a committee to ascertain how they can include Special Olympics in all of their future events.

#Williams, speaking on behalf of his members, said from the phone call to Sands, they got the ball rolling and now it’s a reality. “At a time when everybody is talking about inclusion, whether it be government agents or corporate Bahamas, civil organisations, if you know anything about Special Olympics, inclusion is the watch word for Special Olympics,” he said.

#“With over 190 countries and over 200 programmes and over five million athletes from around the world, inclusion is the watch word. “For the organisers of CARIFTA 50, we are happy that you have included us in the games.”

#Williams revealed that they have six males and one female, including Abaco resident Katelyn Romer, versatile Michael Miller, Grand Bahamian Justin Miller and 400m specialist Deron ‘the King’ Forbes. They are all waiting to put on a show for the public when they come out to watch them compete on the biggest stage in the Bahamas.

#He noted that the athletes will be using the games to showcase some of the athletes who will be representing the Bahamas at the Special Olympic World Games in Berlin, Germany, June 17-25.

#While they have a board of directors, a director and a host of coaches, Williams said they are always looking for volunteers to be able to assist the programme.

#Interested persons can contact him at gilbert@ specialolympicsbahamas. org or call 356-2433 or 359-3558.

#As the games is fast approaching, Deveaux said he’s been pleased with the progress that the LOC is making, and he wants to encourage them to keep up the good work.

#Janeen McCartney, the project manager for the LOC, said that while they endorse all that has been said in the inclusion of Special Olympics Bahamas in the games, they have taken the first step and she hopes that the baton will be passed on to the other regional countries to carry on the mantle in the future.

#And Pauline Davis, the Dame of the games, congratulated Williams for what he and his team are doing with Special Olympics Bahamas.

#And she said she is just really excited to see the athletes compete in the games.

http://www.tribune242.com/news/2023/mar/14/special-olympics-carifta-mix/?news

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