Howell praises athletes, partners for ‘fantastic’ USA Games
Iconic recording artiste Shaggy (black sweater) joins the Special Olympics Jamaica delegation for a photo at Norman Manley International Airport on Sunday, June 12, 2022. (Photos: Collin Reid courtesy of Courts and Digicel)

WHILE praising athletes for their performance at the recent USA Games in Florida, Coleridge “Roy” Howell, the executive director of Special Olympics Jamaica (SOJ), gave a heartfelt shout-out to partners whom he felt gave steadfast support throughout the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The Jamaicans, among the 10 Caribbean delegations to compete at the June 5-11 USA Games, won 12 medals in three sporting disciplines.

“What they did was fantastic and beyond my expectations. Some of these athletes are so young — they were among the youngest of the competitors,” Howell told the Jamaica Observer at the end of the Games.

“And I can’t praise them without saying thanks to our partners Digicel, Sports Development Foundation (SDF), the Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) and UNICEF,” he said.

Telecomunications firm Digicel is a long-time corporate partner of Special Olympics Jamaica, while the State-run SDF has provided extensive support for the movement. The LETR, one of the SOJ’s major fund-raising partners, and UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, have also played intregral roles over the years.

“These people stood with us right throughout the pandemic. When you look...Digicel during the downtime refurbished our multipurpose court so when we came back we could train and lay some foundation. And the SDF made sure that all our medical and other matters were taken care of,” Howell said.

At the USA Games, eight of Jamaica’s medals were won in athletics — three gold, four silver and a bronze — in addition to two (a gold and a silver) in bocce and another two (a gold and a bronze) in swimming.

“In all my travelling with the team, this is one of the most rewarding events. The effort put out by the athletes, bearing in mind these athletes only got face-to-face [training] three or four months ago because of the pandemic and [yet they] did so well. We had spent some time virtually but that would’ve been at the same level that they experienced at the USA Games.

“They were up against athletes who were in year-round training while we had downtime in which we weren’t able to do anything. So, it was rewarding to see the athletes’ response to the short-term training.

“I must say thanks to Lorna Bell who had an input in getting programmes from the Caribbean involved in the USA Games. And this augurs well for the development of programmes in the region,” the SOJ executive director explained.

Howell said the medals won on the track — guided by coaches Lori Scott-Moore and Akeem Clarke — were particularly pleasing.

“On the track there was so much expectation because Jamaican athletes have set a standard worldwide that’s so high. It’s like everyone felt we had to perform, and we did that,” he said.

The Special Olympics programme provides people with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to develop physical fitness, maintain healthy lives, and participate in the sharing of skills with other athletes.

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

— Sanjay Myers

Special Olympics Jamaica track coach Akeem Clarke
Special Olympics Jamaica Executive Director Roy Howell and recording artiste Shaggy talk at the Norman Manley International Airport on Sunday, June 12, 2022. (Collin Reid courtesy of Courts and Digicel )

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at


  1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper; email addresses will not be published.
  2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.
  3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.
  4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.
  5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed:
  6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email:
  7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy