Special Summer Games gets 'Heaven-ly' touch
SPECIAL Olympics Jamaica (SOJ) athletes were boosted by words of encouragement and support during the opening ceremony of the 31st staging of the National Summer Games at the National Arena last Friday.
Wilford 'Billy' Heaven, the chief executive officer of major sponsor CHASE Fund, in mirroring the Special Olympics International (SOI) theme 'Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt', pointed to the importance of inclusion and participation.
"It is once again my privilege to open this the 31st annual National Special Olympics Summer Games.
"I have learnt that the true value of events like this lies not only in the joy and pride of winning, but also in the thrill of participating, and that the greatest achievement for all of you is to feel like you have done the very best you possibly can," said Heaven, who is also the president of the Jamaica Cricket Association.
The (SOJ) body is preparing for the 2015 World Summer Games to be held in Los Angeles, United States.
The Special Olympics programme offers individuals with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to develop physical fitness, participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families and other athletes.
Keynote speaker Michael Clarke, the Calabar High track and field coach, while addressing those in attendance, said spending time with athletes with disabilities is a unique opportunity.
"Being around these special athletes, it is nothing like what I know of for the past 30 years. It is nothing like coaching Calabar, coaching St Jago High or coaching Jamaica College, but I am a willing listener and learner.
"In the 30 years that I have been blessed to coach, I have had the opportunity of not only identifying special talents, but to see to their development throughout the course of our association. It is through these associations that I came up with the notion of how I can relate to you and provide you with some information as to how best to go into battles."