All special winners!
Yesterday was a special day, for this island’s special athletes.
On a day when competitiveness gave way to camaraderie, disappointment was replaced with satisfaction and winning was put on the back-burner, it was indeed a special occasion.
Each and every athlete was hailed as a winner when the Special Olympics Barbados Annual National Games moved to the National Stadium for their annual track and field event.
From the old to the young took part in the activities, which included standard events such as the 800, 200 and 100 metres races, while also incorporating events for the physically challenged, such as the 40-metre wheelchair race.
The focus was not on winning, as all athletes were rewarded for their efforts, but rather on allowing those people who usually would not have a chance to compete, to do so.
Disappointingly though, not enough Barbadians were on hand to lend their support to this special event.
Despite there being no admission charge, and the opportunity to witness some exciting and heart-warming performances from athletes taking part in the Special Olympics Barbados Annual National Games, the seats at the National Stadium were still mostly empty.
And according to Special Olympics Barbados’ public relations officer Edward Thompson, not enough people were coming out and supporting what he insisted was “a very important event on the sporting calendar”.
Referring to the 300 people who attended the meet as an “average” crowd, Thompson said it was extremely important to the athletes that their efforts were recognized and acknowledged through the support of family, friends and the general public.
“We have been trying to encourage people to come out to this event for years. The crowd which we have on hand today [yesterday] is on par with the crowds which we have been receiving for the past couple years,” he said.
“What we have been trying to get across to people, is the fact that it is important for the athletes to see people coming out and supporting them.
“That support goes a long way in helping them to feel included and accepted into our society,” he added.