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Aug 4, 2015

Special Olympic Athletes Return to the Jewel

Four very special athletes returned home to a warm welcome today. And they did not come empty-handed; the athletes returned to the jewel with medals around their necks after taking on much older and season athletes from around the world. The sport is bocce and it put Belize in second place over all in the games that were played in California, USA. News Five’s Duane Moody was on hand when they touched down in Belize.


Duane Moody, Reporting

Team Belize wins silver in the 2015 Special Olympic World Games in Los Angeles. For the past two weeks, four Belizean athletes represented Belize in the bocce games in the single, doubles and team category of the sport. After competing against teams from one hundred seventy countries, Belize took second place overall and medaled in individual categories.


Elodia Bautista

Elodia Bautista, National Director, Special Olympics Belize

“Our girls, after training for nine months to get ready for this L.A. games and competing with the best and most experience athletes in L.A., I was so happy when they won silver medals. Our team was from eleven to sixteen and they were competing against twenty-five year olds, forty-five year olds, but they were placed in that division because when they were doing their divisioning, their skills were very high so automatically, they had to compete with them. We traveled with a team of bocce players, which are the girls and it is unified bocce and it is only four athletes that we traveled with—two partners and two athletes. And so they participated in three events in bocce—the singles, the doubles and the team—and so they won silver medal as a team and they won silver medal as the doubles.”


….And that skill was developed through hard work and a limited period of nine months of training. Head Coach, Katie Kerr, accompanied the team. She spoke of the intricacy of the Italian sport.


Katie Kerr

Katie Kerr, Head Coach

“We played against the hometown of bocce, which is Italy, and all our games we played against them they only beat us by one which means we were good. We never thought that there were so many people and so many people were depending on us to do such a good job. Bocce is an Italian game and it is played using a white ball and two other set of balls—a red and a green. To play the game the objective is which team reaches closes to the palina. First you toss a coin and whichever team wins the coin toss gets to roll the palina and roll the ball. Whichever team gets closest to the palina, they win the total points.”


Today, relatives and friends gathered outside the arrival lounge of the Phillip Goldson International Airport to welcome the athletes as they returned home as winners. For seventeen year old Jasmine Flores and twelve year old Gilda Romero, they are thrilled about placing in the international competition.


Jasmine Flores, Silver Medalist, Special Olympics World Games

“I feel good and lot of people was there and I enjoyed.”


Jasmine Flores

Duane Moody

“Tell us about what you won.”

Jasmine Flores

“I won in doubles and I came in fourth in singles.”


Gilda Romero, Silver Medalist, Special Olympics World Games

“It felt good because I am representing my country and it is better than not being here…you miss it but you are showing the whole world that you are from here.”


Duane Moody

“Knowing that you competed against one hundred and seventy plus other countries, what does it say to what you’ve been doing all this while?”


Gilda Romero

Gilda Romero

“Practicing and hoping that being representing Belize that it is well that we are winning second place and we will play again in the next four years again.”


Duane Moody

“What advice would you have for other athletes who would want to go in the next four years and represent Belize?”


Gilda Romero

“Don’t be ashamed and just try your best.”


National Director for Special Olympics Belize, Elodia Bautista, spoke of the plans for the inclusion of more athletes in the World Games.


Elodia Bautista

“We are going to continue working with the girls and we want to get committed coaches like the one that went with us; that she was there night and day and even on the weekend training with the girls. Like I said, we only had nine months to really train with them and they did excellent for the short period that they were training. So we want to continue expanding it, including more athletes, because in the regular schools, we do have more athletes that could participate. And about this budgy is that children that are on wheelchair can participate and play the game; even with cerebral palsy can participate. So it is not just for intellectual disability; it is for these other children that can participate.”


Congrats team Belize. Duane Moody for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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