SEOUL, Republic of Korea — Jamaica's head of delegation to the Special Olympic Games, Glendon West, is proud that ice figure skater Nigel Davis will be one of the torch runners when the Pyeongchang 2013 World Winter Games rolls off here on January 29.
West told the Jamaica Observer that, though Jamaica has been integral in the Special Olympic movement, it is a "significant" privilege that an athlete from the small island was chosen to take a prominent part in the opening ceremony.
"To us it's significant because they (the organisers) could have chosen any other country. It's from a selection of all the countries that are participating that they selected Nigel as one of the torch bearers and it's a big thing. Lighting the torch and the process leading up to that is important because it signifies the beginning of the Games," West said.
Davis, a gold medallist in speed skating and a poster boy for Special Olympic Jamaica (SOJ), will share the torch running honour with athletes from host nation Korea, Russia, Papa New Guinea, Mexico, Nigeria, and the United Arab Emirates.
West, a man with immense experience dealing with individuals with intellectual disabilities, knowingly noted that Davis's exploits at the Special Olympics is globally recognised and respected.
"Nigel has been in the programme since he was eight. His résumé would have stood out among the others. Added to that, Jamaica has always played a leading role in Special Olympics and we are always breaking new barriers and so it is fitting," West concluded.
Coached by Jacqueline Bennett, Davis and the team's lone female athlete Tamra Mitchell will compete in Jamaica's historic participation in figure skating.
The other 16 members of the Jamaica team will aim to repeat the 2009 gold medal-winning heroics in floor hockey.
Head of delegation: Glendon West
Coaches: Yolanda Reid, Valery Murphy, Michelle Romans and Jacqueline Bennett.
Physiotherapist: Patricia Lue-Chin
Athletes — Dwight Brooks, Omar Brown, Oshaine Daley, Rayan Farquharson, Andre Folkes, Jason Grant, Dexter Haughton, Jermaine Henry, Keneil Hewitt, Andrew Hinds, Lucan Jones, Sydney Manyan, Shawn Myers, Craig Nelson, Matthew Tarawali, David Thompson, Nigel Davis and Tamra Mitchell.