Paralympian Worrell passes on
BARBADOS HAS LOST its most prominent Paralympian.
Wesley Worrell, former president of the Paralympic Association of Barbados, died at the Bayview Hospital around 1:30 a.m. yesterday after a long illness. He was 53 years old.
His distraught wife Maureen Worrell told the DAILY NATION that Wesley’s health had deteriorated since last December 7 and he never recovered.
She said that after being shot and paralysed in April 1994 during a robbery attempt, her husband had put his heart and soul into being an advocate for disabled people.
“Being the president of the Paralympic Association of Barbados was his life. After the injury, it was his main goal to see it grow in Barbados,” she recalled.
“He was the first wheelchair athlete in Barbados, and he played a major role in getting a goalball [a sport for blind and visually impaired people] team together here in Barbados. Coming out of the 2012 London Olympics, that was one of his main initiatives.
“Wesley was fun-loving, outgoing and loved by everyone. It is very hard right now and I know he will be missed by everyone he came into contact with,” Maureen added.
She also thanked those who lent assistance during the last three months in what she referred to as “very trying times”.
Recently retired director of sport at the National Sports Council, Erskine King, who worked closely with Worrell during his tenure, said his death was a huge blow for the Paralympic movement on the island.
“Today [yesterday] is a very sad day. Wesley certainly did a lot for Paralympians here in Barbados. In fact, both he and his wife devoted their lives to it,” King said.
“He tried to encourage other disabled athletes to participate in events and to give of their best. He wasn’t only a competitor, he was an administrator and there was never a difficulty that he couldn’t find a solution.”
In paying his respects, secretary general of the Barbados Olympic Association, Erskine Simmons, said Wesley was very active in getting the Paralympic Association active and in raising its profile.
Special Olympics Barbados also offered condolences through a Press release, stating that “in addition to being a strong advocate for the disabled, Wesley was also an excellent athlete who demonstrated to us all that being differently-abled does not limit a person’s accomplishments”.