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Jul 12, 2011

Special Olympics delegation returns from Greece with medals

We have been following their journey to the Special Olympics since they left Belize in mid-June for Athens, Greece. Today they’re back in Belize boasting bronze medals after playing teams from Chile, Singapore and Indonesia. The boys who are intellectually impaired have been training for over a year with the hopes of bringing home a medal. Today News Five’s Andrea Polanco caught up with the Belize delegation at their welcome reception at the Princess Hotel.

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Team Belize returned today from an impressive show down at the Special Olympics World Summer Games. The eight boys brought back bronze medals in the five-a-side football competition. It is Belize’s first time participating in that sport solidifying it as a major achievement for the country:

Alan Auil

Alan Auil, Chairman Special Olympics Belize

“I want to welcome the team. These guys, the eight of them with the three coaches, the leader of the delegation and everybody, you did Belize very proud. Your accomplishments and experiences I am sure you are going to remember this for the rest of your life.”

Kim Simplis Barrow

Kim Simplis Barrow, Special Envoy for Women & Children

“It is really with pride that I say this as a Belizean, you make me proud to be a Belizean and I am sure that many people when they heard that you guys are bringing that medals home were very proud.”

Head Coach Andrew Aspinall says the road to the Special Olympics began as far back as two and a half years ago to ensure Belize is represented by the best. He says that the boys played impressive games that helped to secure the medals and a huge following in Greece:

Andrew Aspinall, Head Coach

Andrew Aspinall

“Within the districts, we sent little pool of coaches to find these talented players. Over the two years, we had inter-district competitions, inter-regional competitions, we had national training, we had training camp with regular teams. So we’ve done a lot of training to get to where we are now. And the eight young men you see before you are the best of the best within Special Olympics. Whilst we were in Athens, they enchanted everybody they met. We quickly got ourselves a fan club that followed us around all the games. We were in the country of the Sparta and these young men were like young Spartans. In the competition, every competition we were one goal down, two goals down. Every time they came back which is why they sit here with medals on their chest.”

Some of the boys shared the experiences that helped to earn them the medals:

Clayton Fitzgibbons

Clayton Fitzgibbons, 13 years old, Special Olympics

“We was down two nil nearly every game and our coach will be like go and touch that flag over there and come back to remember the people back in Belize.”

Andrea Polanco

“How dis game mi gone down fi you personally?”

Clayton Fitzgibbons

“Ih mi goen down good, but we mi have to work twice as hard to bring back a bronze medal dah Belize.”

Andrea Polanco

Darroll Lambey

“You’re actually the top goal scorer for the Belize team. Tell me a little about how that went down.”

Darroll Lambey, 15 years Old, Special Olympics, Bronze Medalist

“Well we just always play as a team and anytime I get to the ball, I always shoot to the goal.”

Andrea Polanco

“Tell me bout some ah deh goal weh they try score pan you, but you safe.”

Benny Baiza, 15 Years Old, Special Olympics Bronze Medalist

“Well they try score wah outside one from half field and I mi deh ina di sixteen box way out; try but it over my head, but they couldn’t ketch mi. I just punch it over. Next one they try shub it in and I just ut it down like wah international. So I mi ready for anything. Anything goes.”

Zabdi Cob

Andrea Polanco

“What was the favorite part of this trip for you?”

Zabdi Cob, 14 years Old, Special Olympics Bronze Medalist

“To go and win and bring this medal.”

Andrea Polanco

“How many goals you scored?

Darroll Lambey

“I would say seven. So ina every game weh play I score.”

Sidney Rhaburn

Sidney Rhaburn, 15 Years Old, Special Olympics Bronze Medalist

“The game was good and first game I was a bit nervous, but after I started sweat, nervousness gone. After that one of my players scored and then in the last minute I scored. I head in the first center of the ball.”

Andrea Polanco

“Suh weh you mi di figure at the end ah that? You mi certain unu mi wah bring back one ah deh medal?”

Sidney Rhaburn

“Yes ma’am. My coach said we have to try ker back one fo those medals so we could show the people of Belize how good we are.”

Auil says he hopes that the success of the boys helps to propel Special Olympics in Belize:

Alan Auil

“And hopefully their achievement in Athens and the publicity that we get today and in the past three weeks will encourage more volunteers, will encourage more coaches to come and join our organizations, will encourage more families to send their loved ones—their children or brother, cousin or neighbor—to join Special Olympics.”

Reporting for News Five, I am Andrea Polanco.

Head Coach Andy Aspinall says that the boys have been invited to football competitions by other countries, including Jamaica.

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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