As the Special Olympics National Annual Games mark 37 years of existence, Minister of Social Care, Steven Blackett, is of the view that the event was a testimony to the participants??? commitment to creating a better world through the power of sports for people with disabilities.
Mr. Blackett shared this belief while addressing the opening ceremony of the Games today at the National Stadium, Waterford, St Michael.
???This event is the culmination of a process that seeks to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts,??? he stated.
However, the Minister recognised that the Games were about more than just sports, and also focused on ???the holistic development of the total athlete through the Outreach and Skills Training Programme and paying attention to their health issues???.
Mr. Blackett applauded the Special Olympians for their ability to achieve victory by surmounting challenges, and demonstrating their association???s athletic oath which states: ???Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt???.
He also commended the Board of Directors of Special Olympics Barbados for their efforts in engaging young persons living with disabilities in competitive sports which will be useful for their physical and mental wellbeing.
Moreover, the Minister acknowledged that the Games would not be possible without the assistance of volunteers, and urged Barbadians to assist in any way possible.
The Games saw the Special Olympians compete in a range of activities, such as middle distance races, wheelchair and assisted races, the long jump and softball throw