London-bound Paralympic athletes Carlos Green and Shanntol Ince gave emotional accounts of their triumphs over physical disabilities to become outstanding performers in their respective sporting disciplines when they visited two schools in Port-of-Spain last week. Shotputter Greene and swimmer Ince, who have both received wild cards to the 2012 Paralympic Games, also autographed signature copybooks for students at Goodwill Industries of the West Indies and the Princess Elizabeth Centre, respectively. The sporting heroes are part of the initiative by energy company BP Trinidad and Tobago (bpTT) to help fuel the success of T&T’s athletes at the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games.
A release from bpTT stated that Greene, Ince, cyclist Njisane Phillip, shotputter Cleopatra Borel-Brown, sprinters Renny Quow and Michelle-Lee Ahye have been selected as bpTT athlete ambassadors as the country’s athletes prepare for the ultimate milestones of their sporting careers. At midday, Greene was virtually mobbed by bpTT staffers when he took part in an interactive “Lunch & Learn” session at the company’s head office, at Albion Court in Port-of-Spain. Greene recounted how he became blind during his teens and the obstacles he had to overcome along the way. “I have fought very hard to reach where I am today. It has hurt but I will never stop fighting,” he stressed. Since being selected for the honour of being a bpTT athlete ambassador, Greene said he had come to “really appreciate” the company’s core values of Safety, Courage, One Team, Respect and Excellence, as he had been practising them in his life as a professional athlete.
In response to a question as to which of the many medals he has won that he valued the most, Greene replied, without hesitation: “The best medal I ever received was the one on August 31, 2010. It is very dear to me.” Greene was awarded the Humming Bird Medal (Silver) on Independence Day, that year. Earlier, at Goodwill Industries, Greene told the students and teachers he considered it a great privilege to visit their school and promised to return to work with their athletes who participate in the Special Olympics.
He urged them to take up sporting disciplines which will put them in line to qualify for the Paralympic Games. At the Princess Elizabeth Centre, Shanntol Ince joined scores of students in singing I Am Blessed, and urged them to accept their disabilities and to “always believe you are born for something special.” She personally greeted and hugged each student and presented them with autographed copies of her copybooks.