Opening the games in bright, sunny conditions, Director of Sport Jeffery Hazel told the students and parents gathered that this type of Olympics changes the lives of all participants.
The event, according to Hazel, has become a milestone for students with disabilities, because it showcases their capabilities in various disciplines.
“The Special Olympics National Games have become a landmark for people with disabilities, federally, and it is a landmark in the progress of mankind toward seeking immense capabilities and possibilities. It is through these games we realize that sport is about what we can do. It is about what we can achieve, the limits that we can reach, and the barriers that we can break,” said Hazel.
“Everything that sports stand for, we are going to see right here… With the many strides made over the past five decades, there are still many persons who doubt the power of the human spirit to overcome all kinds of limitations and challenges,” Hazel added.
According to the coach of the National Football Team, Special Olympics unite a vast number of people, from the athletes who are participating with pride, to the many people next to them, who help ensure the athletes strive to be their best every day.
He thanked the organizing team for the work that they had done in putting the event together, including the chairperson of the Special Olympics St. Kitts-Nevis Board, Clarissa Cotton.
“It has taken a lot of hard work by many people to get to this point. I want to thank the entire organizing team, including Ms. Clarissa Cotton and Mr. Ivor Blake, for their dedication and excellence in the Special Olympics movement,” Hazel said,
“The Special Olympics movement changes the lives of people with intellectual disabilities through sports, and it promotes the idea of each person, regardless of their ability, being a valuable member of society,” the director of sport noted.
The opening ceremony began with the entrance of the torch carried by way of the Law Enforcement Torch Run from Basseterre to the Silver Jubilee Stadium in Bird Rock.
Board chairperson Clarice Cotton assured the spectators that they would see a very good and competitive Track and Field event put on the Olympians.
“In Special Olympics we tell our athletes that they have to put out their best effort, and they usually do that,” Cotton said.
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