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Jun 16, 2011

Athletes heading to Greece for Special Olympic Summer Games

Eight young athletes are heading to Greece with the hopes of bringing back gold. They have been training and preparing for the games in which they will compete for the first time. Unlike the regular football, the boys will be testing their mettle in the five a-side football fielding five players, rather than the usual eleven. News Five’s Andrea Polanco caught up with the aspiring athletes.

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

A delegation of twelve, including eight young boys will be travelling to Athens, Greece tomorrow to participate in the Special Olympics Summer Games:

Piero Marin

Piero Marin, National Director, Special Olympics, Belize

“This year they are going to participate specifically for football—five a side football. They are supposed to arrive on the twenty-fifth and I think they will be playing about three games in all. Hopefully they will be coming back with gold medals.”

Andrea Polanco

“I know they have been training over one year. Do you see in this team something that tells you these boys are coming back with this medal?’

Piero Marin

“I’m pretty confident. I have a lot of confidence in team Belize. Team Belizean has been training for more than a year; they have been training for roughly a year and a half. The group started off with a hundred and we narrowed it down to eight. So you know you are getting the eight best out of a hundred athletes.”

Clayton Fitzgibbons

For the young athletes, bringing home a gold medal is what they expect to do:

Clayton Fitzgibbons, Special Olympics Team Member

“I just gwen guh play mi best and do what I could do to try win and bring back wah medal.”

Andrea Polanco

“But dah di gold medal you di look pan?”

Clayton Fitzgibbons

“Yes ma’am.”

Andrea Polanco

Benny Baiza

“You dah the gold keeper weh di travel with this team. You think you ready fi di Special Olympics this year?”

Benny Baiza, Special Olympics Team Member

“[I] ready fuh anything.”

Andrea Polanco

“You wah mek any one ah deh goal get through pan you?”

Benny Baiza

“No man; none ah dehn noh wah touch me.”

Andrea Polanco

“So you definitely wah got this team back when you deh out deh?”

Benny Baiza

“Yes ma’am.”

Andrea Polacno

“Suh tell mi weh we could expect from this team when unu come back in July?”

Benny Baiza

“Well prepare fi expect lone gold medal. We di plan fuh win.”

And Marin says that is reasonable expectation because the team has been training hard:

Piero Marin

“Andy Aspinal, Charles Gutierrez, Raymond Sanchez have been working with these guys for over two years and a half so they have a close bond. And whatever difficulties they may encounter in Athens, Greece, I am sure these men will be able to set them at ease so that they will be able to perform at their utmost best on the field.”

Clayton Fitzgibbons

“We just train in defense and attack because we don’t know what the other teams are bringing against us, so just defense and attack.”

Benny Baiza

“Well it’s kinda hard, difficult because as a goalkeeper you always have to the move around, talk to your team and suh.”

Jerrilee Valentine

Jerrilee Valentine, Special Olympics Team Member

“I play defense, forward, mid-field and sweeper miss.”

Sidney Rhaburn, Special Olympics Team Member

“Football and I work hard to get into this game so I appreciate that I will be going to Greece.”

So to help them get to the Special Olympics, the team received a cheque and gears from the British High Commissioner:

Pat Ashworth, British High Commissioner

“We had the national agriculture trade show coming up and we approached Supreme Foods, who supply BATSUB with their food, ask if they would donate some material we would sell. So they sold us loads of British style sausage, British style bacon that we sold on the two days of the trade show.

Pat Ashworth

And we raised three thousand and fifty dollars and so we are really happy to be able to do this. At the same time because the Olympics is in London next year and the special Olympics is part of the Olympics family, so we asked London if they would send us some Olympic material and we managed to get everybody these sweatshirts and hats. So they lucky team. [We are] very pleased to help.”

Reporting for News Five, I am Andrea Polanco.

The Special Olympics Summer Games will start on June twenty-fifth and ends on July fourth.

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4 Responses for “Athletes heading to Greece for Special Olympic Summer Games”

  1. bushgyal says:

    Come on belize, Is not Special Olympics for mentally impaired individuals? These Beautiful Belizean children did not look menatlly impaired to me.

  2. BZNinCALI says:

    Good luck guys.

  3. MADDYVANDIJKDEREALISTO says:

    The news should focus more on positive aspects in Belize such as this story, and a little less on all the bloodshed. Internationally, people might start to care about Belize and its positive contribution to its people.

    Although I’m happy these kids have a chance to see a small part of the world, and to prove to themselves that they too can rise to kings out of poverty, I am also hopeful that the other 92 kids who did not make it this far was not pushed back into the streets, but instead embraced by the leaders of this community as well.

  4. Andrea Elsie says:

    @ bushgyal:
    The boys going to the summer games are not physically impaired but are intellectually challenged and that is how they are selected to be a part of the Special Olympics. They had to be given a full examination and certified by a doctor to be considered ‘intellectually/mentally challenged’.

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