Cheers for Special Olympics team
Barbados’ Special Olympics team returned home from the World Summer Games in Athens, Greece, yesterday to a hero’s welcome.
The jangling of the two golds, one silver and four bronze medals adding to the shouts of family friends and officials at the Grantley Adams International Airport.
The seven athletes returned home with seven medals and all of the competitors achieved personal bests along with World Games medals.
One of the stars, Rashad King who captured a gold in the boys’ singles table tennis, was mobbed by more than 30 children who were bussed from the National Table Tennis Centre dressed in gold or blue and waving balloons.
King had just enough time to give a hug to his baby sister, Danielle Pollard, give high fives to his tennis buddies before heading off to the Tennis Centre to take part in a match, leaving his teammates to bask in the glory.
The other gold medallist, Nikita Maycock, was overwhelmed by the support and she began crying even when her mum Sharon Maycock drew her into a warm embrace.
More supporters gathered to join the Barbados Ms. World Delegates and many representatives from other disciplines who lined up to greet the athletes at the exit.
Chairman of the National Sports Council, Seibert Straughn; Director of Sports, Erskine King; manager of the Barbados Olympic Office, Glyne Clarke; Sports Development Officer Stephen Rowe and secretary of the National Council of Disabilities, Joseph Tudor, were also there to welcome home the conquerors.
Maycock captured gold in the women’s 100m and King in the boys’ singles table tennis, while Marwyn Lorde earned silver in the men’s 100m. There were bronze medals for Laura Sobers (women’s singles bocce), Korey Kellman (men’s 400m), Justin Edwards (men’s singles bocce), and Natalie Daniel (women’s 100m).
Athletics coach Paulette Smith did not mask her pride at the achievement of the team.
“This was the culmination of 12 years of training and preparation unfolding and I cannot describe how I felt when I saw the success of my athletes,” a smiling Smith said.
“The support and camaraderie as well as the boost from the other Caribbean and world teams was great and we look forward to the success taking Special Olympics in Barbados to the next level as well as to the World Championships.”
Tennis coach Dawn Rudder, who is also the principal of the Learning Centre, said that it was only just sinking in for King to accept what he had achieved.
“Even when he had to play for the gold, Rashad was totally focused on the game and he was not thinking about gold or silver.
“Table tennis is Rashad’s life, as seen where he has won a gold medal at the Olympics for Barbados and on returning home he immediately heads off to play in a domestic tournament,” a proud, Rudder said.