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Dec 8, 2017

Special Olympians in Action

The Special Olympics games culminated Disabilities Week today. Over three hundred athletes converged at the Marion Jones Stadium in the city; the largest contingent came from Orange Walk, and the top performers will advance to the World Games in 2019 in Abu Dhabi. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Disabilities Week concluded at the Marion Jones Sporting Complex in Belize City with the Special Olympic Belize National Games. The event supports a week long awareness campaign on persons living with disabilities and their inclusiveness in all sectors of society. The official ceremonies today began with the final leg of the Flame of Hope Torch Run, an initiative of the law enforcement agencies, but spearheaded by the Police Department.

 

Phillip Marin

Phillip Marin, National Director, Special Olympics Belize

“Today we are having our fourteenth national games for children with intellectual disabilities and also children without disabilities. Today, they will be engaged in football, marching and track and field. And a part of the games, we are also having our performance station for the first time. It is an event for them to increase their performance and also to develop their fitness level.”

 

Over three hundred athletes and one hundred and thirty volunteers from all six districts are participating in the various disciplines including javelin, softball throw, shot put and standing jump; Orange Walk fielding the most, sixty-eight athletes. For the Belmopan team, they have had limited time to prepare, but group leader Camille Salazar says that they are hopeful that they’ll medal.

 

Camille Espat Salazar

Camille Espat Salazar, Admin Lead, Special Olympics, Belmopan

“Our preparations have been throughout the year; we have been on and off practicing the different kinds of sports. Today we hope to go home back with something positive. Preparation could have been a bit more than what we have now and hopefully we will be more prepared next year.”

 

Duane Moody

“How many athletes are on your team?”

 

Camille Espat Salazar

“We brought twenty-three total and ten volunteers—females and boys—all up to age twenty-five, twenty-six-years-old.”

 

…and that preparation can go a long way. The top athletes from the national games are more than likely to represent Belize at the World Games to be held in Abu Dhabi come 2019.

 

Phillip Marin

“Today, we will select the athletes that will be going for those games. In Abu Dhabi, we will be participating in football and also track and field. So we will take male football and female track and field.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

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