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Warm welcome back for Special Olympians

Warm welcome back for Special Olympians

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Screams and loud cheers, followed by hugs and kisses were the order of the day, as members of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Special Olympics team to this year’s World Summer Games exited the arrival section of the ET Joshua Airport last Tuesday.

Parents, guardians, friends and other {{more}}well-wishers ensured that the 32 members of the contingent were warmly welcomed after their sojourn in Los Angeles, California, USA.

But before that, a welcome team of officials and sponsors’ representatives met the team on arrival, following which a brief ceremony was held at the VIP Lounge at the airport.

Nothing short of high commendations and superlatives were heaped on those who made the trip.

In his presentation, deputy director of Grenadines affairs Herman Belmar referred to all who represented St Vincent and the Grenadines at the World Summer Games as “great ambassadors”.

“I know the country is proud of you … I know those of us here would like to put you on our shoulder and walk around town with you … Let us hold our heads up high; let us feel proud to know that are somebody to be recognized …. Hold your heads up high, knowing that you have set down the bench-mark for others to follow,” he said.

“I want to thank the coaches, I want to thank the chaperones, everyone involved in making this happen, from Government to the smallest man in the street who contributed their pennies to make this happen,” Belmar acknowledged.

Lending her voice was national director of Special Olympics St Vincent and the Grenadines Janice Mc Master O’Loughlin, who was head of the contingent to Los Angeles.

“We had fun, we competed and there were so many things which the athletes benefitted from … It was not all about the competition…We came back healthier, as we took part in the healthy athletes programme,” she stated.

Mc Master-O’Loughlin noted that the St Vincent and the Grenadines’ representatives were not overawed by the occasion and by the larger contingents.

“They did their best and when I saw what the athletes did, I was amazed… They were ambassadors for us and although we were small, we were the life of the party….. Persons always recognized St Vincent and the Grenadines because our voices were loud…. We represented,” Mc Master-O’Loughlin gushed.

The national director thanked the major sponsors and all others who made the trip to the games a reality.

Sharing similar sentiments to Belmar and Mc Master-O’Loughlin were coach Terrence Davis, chair of Special Olympic SVG Sir Errol Allen and director of physical education and sports Nelson Hillocks.

After an absence of 10 years, St Vincent and the Grenadines were able to medal (including gold) in four disciplines – bocce, athletics, tennis and aquatics, 12 silvers, six bronze and made a creditable effort in football.

St Vincent and the Grenadines was among 160 countries which participated in the 2015 World Summer Games, which netted about 6,500 athletes.

The Games ran from July 25 to August 2.(RT)

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