Sport

Ecstatic coaches laud 'special' athletes

Sanjay Myers
Sport Reporter
Special Olympics Summer Games In Abu Dhabi

Monday, March 18, 2019

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ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Coaches Cislyn Shirley and Tanisha Brown were ecstatic after their charges brought in more medals for Jamaica (SOJ) in bocce and roller skating, respectively, at the Special Olympics World Summer Games.

All told, yesterday Jamaica accounted for seven medals, comprising five gold, one silver and a bronze.

Over previous days, SOJ athletes had won four medals — two silver and two bronze — giving them a total of 11.

Delroy Sullivan, 51, took Jamaica's first gold of the 2019 Games with his win in bocce singles at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC).

His coach Cislyn Shirley was over the moon.

“I feel so good that he was able to pull of this win. I'm overwhelmed [because] of the way he performed. He is feeling so happy, I can't even explain — he's so happy and excited,” Shirley told the Jamaica Observer.

Bocce is played by using an underarm action to bowl a ball at a target. Points are determined by the ball's proximity to the target.

In Division Seven of 300-metre roller skating at ADNEC, Dale Oddman sped to gold in 1:02.96 minutes, ahead of Chia Wu (1:08.34) of Chinese Taipei and Marwan Alsaadi (1:19.22) of Oman.

Oddman, who snatched bronze in 100m Division One days ago, had the early lead, but had to literally shake off the challenge of Wu after the Chinese Taipei skater bumped into him while trying to overtake on the bend late in the race. Luckily for Oddman, he was just able to keep his balance even as Wu went sprawling into the corner barrier.

Oddman, 37, follows twin brother Dave as a gold medallist at the Special Olympics World Games, after the latter achieved the feat in speed skating at the Winter showpiece in Austria two years ago.

The Oddman brothers both earn their livelihood from pushing handcarts to transport people's food produce at a market in Jamaica's capital Kingston.

In Division Six of the 300m, Dale's 20-year-old teammate Sekani Green also copped gold, capitalising on a bullet start to cruise home in 48.96 seconds. He was ahead of Lebanon's Sharif Al Bitar (57.06) and India's Hardik Agarwal (58.36).

The two later combined for the 2x200m relay event and finished fourth, but were later disqualified.

“I am very proud of them; words can't express the joy I felt watching them skate. They worked really hard during the training sessions and they came to Abu Dhabi very determined and focused,” Brown told the Observer.

The skating coach noted that the accomplishment comes even as they try to get accustomed to the wooden surface at the area, which is more slippery than the concrete that they mostly train on in Jamaica.

“Even though skating on the board is very challenging they had their eyes on the prize and they went and took it, making themselves, their coaches, and Jamaica proud. They were very happy. It's their first World Games and they really wanted to bring back gold to Jamaica, so they executed,” Brown explained.

In unified basketball action at ADNEC, Jamaica eased to a 46-27 win over Finland as Mourice Davis topped the scoring with 19 points.

It was their third successive win after previously defeating Saudi Arabia and Cote d'Ivoire.

“This game was much easier, so I used the opportunity to give some [fringe] players more playing time, experience and confidence,” Coach Nagash Cockburn told the Observer.

Up to press time yesterday, organisers were yet to confirm which team the Jamaicans will face next in their quest for a gold medal.

SOJ volleyball coach Loran Grant was upbeat after the male team beat Bangladesh 25-21, 25-20 for its third win at ADNEC.

“The male team came out and played at a high standard; they were in happy spirits and really put Jamaica's name on the map here. We are waiting to see how we will be placed and who we will play next,” he said.

The unified female volleyball team is yet to win, after falling to Botswana 14-25, 17-25 and to Serbia 15-25, 12-25. But Grant noted that a medal chance is still open.

“We have had some injuries that weakened our team but we will fight on. We thank God for the exposure and we still have a chance to medal,” he said.

In badminton doubles inside the Exhibition Centre, Janoy Daley and unified partner Travis Ebanks were too good for the Kazakhstan pair of Zarip and Murat Zhumagaliyev. The SOJ team was dominant in registering a 21-5 and 21-1 victory.

They await announcement of their next outing, while Daley looks to continue his quest for medal in singles competition.


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