OVER 175 athletes, coaches, partners, officials and volunteers will take to Last Cuevas Beach on Sunday for the Special Olympics of TT's (SOTT) fourth Beach Games, bringing a close to a series of events involving stakeholder of Special Olympics International (SOI).
The Beach Games, for competitors with intellectual disabilities, will involve an open-water swim, beach volleyball, an aquathlon, beach football, bocce and powerlifting. It will run from 8.30 am-4 pm.
SOTT described the culminating Beach Games as the "provision of beach sports as an option to increase the sports offered to athletes with intellectual disabilities and an avenue to educate the members of the public about persons with intellectual disabilities."
It is being hosted in collaboration with the Beach Soccer Association of TT, TT Volleyball Federation, Trinity Masters Swim Club, TT Aquatics Swim Club and several Lions Clubs.
Kester Edwards, a veteran SOTT athlete, will lead a team from Special Olympics International (SOI) in preparation for the 2020 Special Olympics Regional Beach Games. Edwards is a former member of the SOI board and a member of the first class of Sargent Shriver International Global Messengers. Global Messengers are Special Olympics athletes who spread the message and vision of the movement, and the benefits they have gained by participating in Special Olympics.
He is currently the manager of sport and development at Special Olympics in Washington DC. According to SOTT, he played a crucial role in the body's adoption of open-water swimming to its list of sports.
Edwards will be accompanied by the US Olympic long-jump record-holder and Special Olympics ambassador Bob Beamon. Beamon was expected to arrive in TT last evening. He will host clinics for local Special Olympics athletes and host a cocktail reception for SOTT stakeholders on Friday night.
Kester, Beamon and other members of SOI are expected to pay courtesy calls on Sport Minister Shamfa Cudjoe, TTOC president Brian Lewis and other heads of local national sporting organisations in an effort to garner support for SOTT and the 2020 Regional Beach Games.
Among the other activities carded for the week is a regional unified sports beach games clinic for local and regional coaches, to be hosted at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo, on Friday and Saturday. Its aim is to equip local and regional Special Olympics coaches with tools and skills needed to prepare athletes for competition in the various beach sports events and how to stage the beach games.
The Beach Games is part of SOTT’s 2019 Community Sports Training Programme, which is sponsored by the Digicel Foundation.