Oddman claims Ja's first medal in the UAE

...basketballers earn hard-fought victory over Saudis

Sanjay Myers
Sport Reporter
Special Olympics Summer Games In UAE

Saturday, March 16, 2019

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ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Roller skater Dale Oddman yesterday won bronze in Division One of the 100-metre event at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), for Jamaica's first medal at the 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games.

Chunlei Tang of Special Olympics China won gold, while Hungary's Robery Hocza was second.

For Dale, it was a matter of following in the footsteps of his twin brother Dave, after the latter remarkably won gold and silver in speed skating at the winter edition of the Special Olympics Games in Austria two years ago.

Dale's bronze-medal finish was all the more outstanding given that it was done on wood flooring as opposed to the less slippery concrete that he and his teammates mostly practise on in Jamaica. Additionally, he was competing against athletes in the top division of the 100m event here in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The inspiring accomplishment sheds further spotlight on the 37-year-old Oddman, who earns a living from transporting people's goods at the food market in Kingston by handcart.

Tanisha Brown, the Special Olympics Jamaica (SOJ) roller skate coach, told the Jamaica Observer that both she and Dale are satisfied with the outcome.

“He told me he is happy with the medal and I am pleased with his performance, because he is not used to the board but he still came out and did his best,” she said.

Lorna Bell, the SOJ executive director and Jamaica's head of delegation in the United Arab Emirates, was overjoyed.

“Who would have thought a young man pushing a handcart would be showcasing his talent to the world? This is what Special Olympics is about — changing lives and giving individuals a chance,” she said.

“This [medal] is a great start for Jamaica, and it gives momentum going forward,” Bell added.

Also at ADNEC yesterday, SOJ unified basketball players battled from behind to beat their counterparts from Saudi Arabia 37-28, in an encounter that comprised six minutes per quarter.

Dasean Boyd led Jamaica with nine points.

Jamaica trailed 4-6 at the end of the first quarter and 10-13 at half-time before closing the final 12 minutes on a 27-15 run to overwhelm the Saudis.

Basketball coach Nagash Cockburn was impressed with the win, but is already looking ahead to today's game against the Ivory Coast team.

“The guys were well prepared but Saudi Arabia is a strong team, so coming back to win was nothing short of hard work. I'm very proud of them and I expect big things. We play Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) tomorrow, so we have to keep repeating the game plans so that they are fresh in their minds,” he told the Observer in a post-game interview yesterday evening.

In male volleyball action at ADNEC, Special Olympics Jamaica registered wins against their counterparts from Pakistan and Japan.

They beat Pakistan 25-23, 25-20 before getting the better of Japan 25-7, 25-21.

Today, the unified female team is slated to face Kenya, Russia and Peru.

The male side is scheduled for a clash with Kazakhstan, as well as against Japan for a second time in as many days.

In aquatics at Hamdan Sports Complex in Dubai, SOJ swimmers Rachael Charles, Andrew Bartholomew, Nicholas McBean and Leon Barclay are all set for action today. At La Mer Beach, Kadian Ingleton is to compete in the open water (1600-metre) swim contest.

Jamaica's track and field athletes are also down to compete in Dubai today.

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