Special Olympics Bahamas lays out agenda for year


Tribune Sports Reporter


SPECIAL Olympics Bahamas experienced tremendous success in 2023 and now the non-profit organisation is looking to double down on their accomplishments in 2024.

The Special Olympics athletes competed at the 50th Oaktree Medical Center CARIFTA Games on home soil and had a grand showing at the 2023 Special Olympics Summer World Games in Berlin, Germany.

Gilbert Williams, director of Special Olympics Bahamas, is hopeful to have athletes partake in more international opportunities, receive more funding to help with their initiatives, and grow their programme in 2024.

“My expectations for Special Olympics Bahamas in 2024 are fairly simple. We want to continue to grow our programme involving more athletes and volunteers. We want to give our current group of athletes a great sporting and socialising experience, helping them to grow as individuals. Also, by growing our athlete base we will poise ourselves for more international opportunities with a deeper pool selection,” Williams said.

Last year, the programme made great strides at various sporting events starting with the Bahamas’ ninth hosting of the CARIFTA Games.

The Bahamas’ Special Olympics team competed in the 100m and 200m sprint events and they were the only ones to do so in the Caribbean region.

Six athletes competed with two hailing from Grand Bahama, one from Abaco and the others from New Providence.

Additionally, the Special Olympics team amassed four medals at the 2023 Special Olympics Summer World Games.

Caitlin Romer earned a silver and bronze medal in the 100m and 200m finals.

Austin Green and Bronson Aranha were awarded the silver medals in the bowling doubles. Green also took home a silver medal in the men’s bowling singles.

Romer and Green were also recognised as the Male and Female Athlete of the Year with a Disability at the National Sports Awards.

Williams said there is more competition in the near future for the Special Olympics athletes.

“This is a relatively easy paced year but there are still a few potential exciting initiatives. We are hoping to be included in CARIFTA this year and are waiting for the final decision from authorities. “We are planning to stage our National Bocce Championships in April and would like to take this to Grand Bahama, if we can get the level of funding needed, otherwise it is less costly to host in New Providence.

“We then have the Caribbean Bocce Tournament in the Cayman Islands at the end of May and our annual Raffle and Grill event in August,” he said.

Funding is a major necessity for the non-profit organisation to ensure that their ventures materalise in 2024.

The director said they have already sent out letters to various companies appealing for their assistance with the 2024 initiatives and encouraged them to make an invaluable contribution for a worthy cause. “Our appeal to corporate Bahamas is to step out of the ordinary and make a difference in the world of Special Olympics. Sponsor an event either in full or partially.

It costs less than one would think and the reward is unbelievable,” he explained.

Interested individuals can keep up with Special Olympics Bahamas via their social media platforms or donate via www.specialolympicsbahamas.org.


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