PROUD JAMAICA, Special Olympics World Summer Games (SOWSG) : A gift for Jamaica 53 from our disabled athletes... With medal haul of 29 -- 10 gold, 11 silver and eight bronze -- is such a sweet victory.

 Wednesday, August 05, 2015    
The look of pride on the face of Jamaican-born Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) Captain Peter Whittingham as he greeted members of the Jamaican contingent to the just-concluded Special Olympics World Summer Games (SOWSG) said it all.
Coach of Jamaica’s women’s futsal team at the Special
Olympics Summer Games Betty Stultz (left) shares a ‘special’
 moment with her players at the UCLA Soccer Field in Los
 Angeles, California, yesterday.(PHOTO: COLLIN REID
 COURTESY OF DIGICEL, SCOTIABANK AND CHASE FUND)
The moment was captured in the photograph published on page 33 of the Monday edition of the Jamaica Observer. What the picture did not capture, however, is the fact that Captain Whittingham himself, though not disabled, had to overcome great odds as a boy from the Canterbury ghetto in Montego Bay to become a respected and senior leader in the LAPD, a happy story which was carried some time ago in this newspaper.
Captain Whittingham understands the significance of the medal-rich performance of Jamaica's disabled athletes who, through determination, hard work and a will to make their country proud, gave Jamaica a wonderful gift as we celebrate our 53rd year of Independence tomorrow, August 6.
It is in the nature of things that as a country we do not appear to be over the moon or doing cartwheels, as we did after the 2012 London Olympics Games when Mr Usain Bolt, Mrs Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and company blazed a trail to hitherto unprecedented glory.
The dazzle and sparkle of major world games, such as the Olympics, the World Championships -- an edition of which is due this month -- the Commonwealth Games, the Diamond League and the like, do not attend the Special Olympics. Neither does the treasure trove of sponsorship. Television stations don't trip over themselves to buy the broadcast rights. Motorcades for the returning athletes are few and far between.
SOJ couple Jonathan Lowe and Esther Pair-Lowe
share a moment during the Special Olympic Games
closing ceremony at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
on Sunday. (PHOTO: COLLIN REID COURTESY
OF DIGICEL, SCOTIABANK AND CHASE FUND)
But we all know and quietly salute the power of the commitment of the disabled to their success and the awesomeness of their desire to overcome obstacles to which many have succumbed. They exist often in the shadows because we still do not yet comprehend the world of the disabled and we are embarrassed by the fact that we offer so little support to make life better for them.
Which is why the medal haul of 29 -- 10 gold, 11 silver and eight bronze -- is such a sweet victory. Beyond that, from the clinical reports of sportswriter Mr Sanjay Myers we saw that the entire SOWSG was impacted by Jamaican charm, flair and heroics.
In this respect, Jamaica's Mr Kirk Wint was the standout when he won hearts by competing on his hands and feet to narrowly miss bronze in his 50-metre race where his competitors ran upright. Undaunted, he returned the following day to win gold in the softball throw.
The joy expressed by Ms Lorna Bell, the executive director of Special Olympics Jamaica, is shared by all of us at Independence time. more

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