Twelve athletes will comprise T&T’s floor hockey team at the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games, which runs from January 29 to February 5, in Pyeong Chang, Korea.
Close to 3,300 competitors from over 100 nations are set to challenge, the biennial games, which have switched from the summer edition, staged in 2011.
Led by the head of delegation, Ferdinand Bibby, and three coaches, Clayton Williams, Dropatie Samaroo and Claudia Williams, the Special Olympics of T&T (SOTT) team will include, Waylon Thornhill, Michael Johnson, Carlos King, Devan Mahadeo, Rishi Ramsumair, Danial Ramphal, Nikki Jangeesingh, Gaitrie Rampersad, Sheldon Prince, Learrie Buchan, Marlon Worrel and Sherwin Perryman. Assistant head of delegates, Lilia Mootoo and Norma James will also travel with the team.
Floor hockey is one of eight sports: Alpine skiing, cross country skiing, snow boarding, snow shoeing, short track speed skating, figure skating, floor hockey and floor ball demonstration, offered at the Special Olympics World Winter Games
Next Wednesday, nearly a week before the start of the games, the SOTT team will depart for Korea to participate in the “Host Town Programme” where the athletes will have an opportunity to meet with local communities and become engaged in cultural exchanges.
The team was recently invited to tea by the ambassador of the Republic of Korea Wonkun Hwang, who introduced them to some of the rich history, cities, weather, music, language, customs and food of Korea.
The evening provided an opportunity for the athletes to be exposed firsthand to the country’s culture and customs while sharing their individual experiences in the Special Olympics with the Ambassador.
Special Olympics World Games bring public attention to the talents and capabilities of people with intellectual disabilities, helping to change attitudes and break down barriers that excluded them from the mainstream of the community.
SOTT continues to provide avenues for athletes with intellectual disabilities to exhibit their athletic prowess in an environment that facilitates acceptance, enables empowerment and encourages self esteem. It is the hope that we can build stronger communities by changing the attitudes of communities towards Special Olympics athletes.