Jamaican athletes riding high after record 33-medal haul at World Summer Games

Sanjay Myers
Sport Reporter
Special Olympics Summer Games In UAE

Saturday, March 23, 2019

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Jamaica's athletes return home tomorrow riding high after winning a record-breaking 33 medals at the 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games.

The number, which includes 15 gold, 10 silver and eight bronze, beats the country's previous best of 29 they had four years ago at the Summer Games in the United States.

Invariably, the over 70 Jamaican athletes who competed in eight disciplines between March 14-21 in the United Arab Emirates, have come in for praise.

Gabriel Heron was pleased with the four medals won in aquatics.

“The games were a huge success for us; 1 gold, 1 silver and 2 bronze. But more importantly, the mantra of Special Olympics International was achieved numerous times as the athletes applied themselves far beyond their expectations and displayed bravery by digging deep within to perform. This is about impacting lives and inclusion... mission accomplished,” the aquatics head coach told the Jamaica Observer.

The athletics team captured the greatest number of medals — seven gold, five silver, and three bronze. The contingent's most famous athlete, Kirk Wint, did not win gold but the para-athlete dominated the headlines with silver in 50-metre race and bronze in soft ball throw.

“The athletes are proud of their achievements. All of them got a medal to take home, [and] they are happy to have represented Jamaica. Winning fifteen medals from our 10 athletes is excellent. At the end of the Games our team was sought after for interviews and pictures. Kirk Wint was particularly the star,” said athletics Head Coach Andre Johnstone.

Badminton claimed gold thanks to the unified players Janoy Daley and para-athlete Travis Ebanks in doubles action. Daley returned to cop silver in the singles event.

Badminton Head Coach Terry Walker was satisfied they gave their best.

“I believe both players played at their best level, gaining an appreciation for the work they put on prior to the Games. I am satisfied with the result of gold and silver medals. My personal experience of inclusion at these Games goes beyond sports; it speaks to how we as a people can team together, to help each other experience happy moments,” she said.

Unified basketball won gold to better the silver they won in 2015.

“It's my first time at the Special Olympics and it's an honour to achieve this. I always believed in them [the players] and knew that once they remained disciplined anything would be possible. The preparation helped us get through the Games because it was a tight schedule,” said basketball Head Coach Nagash Coburn.

Bocce players Delroy Sullivan and Pamela Brown combined for 1 gold, 1 silver and 1 bronze.

“I believe the athletes did their best in their competition.They made us very proud . Hats off to them at their first world games,” Bocce Head Coach Cislyn Shirley said about her athletes' performance in the Italian sport in which player gain points for under-arming a ball at a target.

Brown's moment is particularly special since her son, Paul Daley, is a member of the gold-medal winning basketball team.

In unified football, the males won gold after beating Austria 3-0 in Division Two final, while the female seven-a-side set-up claimed silver after losing 0-3 to Cote d'Ivoire in their championship match.

“There was a silver for the females and a gold for the males. We trained very hard, and everything was up to par in terms of organisation. Many things went right, so hats off to the players and the coaching and management staff, including those not on here in UAE,” said Shane Richards, the football head coach.

Roller skaters Sekani Green and Dale Oddman shared four medals — two gold, one siler and a bronze.

“The skaters got the opportunity to showcase their talent at their first World Games here in Abu Dhabi, and I believe they did their best. Winning wasn't easy but they did it and we are proud of them,” said Tanisha Brown, the roller skate head coach.

Volleyball Head Coach Loran Grant was over the meoon with the male and unified female team claiming respective gold and bronze medals.

“They say there is no 'I' in team and what we did is proof of this statement,” he told the Observer.

The unified programme brings people with and without intellectual disabilities together on the same team during competition.

Special Olympics is a global organisation that provides year-round sports training and athletic competition, in a variety of Olympic-type sports, for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

The intellectual disabilities can either be acquired or genetic, and can include cases of cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, autism, and traumatic brain injury.

1 gold, 1 silver, 2 bronze
7 gold, 5 silver, 3 bronze
1 gold, 1 silver
1 gold
1 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze
1 gold, 1 silver
Roller skating
2 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze
1 gold, 1 bronze

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