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Bermuda ready for Special Olympics

Looking forward: Alicia Zuill cannot wait for tomorrow

Athletes are getting ready to showcase their talents at the island’s Special Olympics at the National Sports Centre tomorrow.

It is expected that more than 100 competitors will take part in the event, which includes both track and field disciplines.

And just like the Olympics, there will be a torch relay tomorrow involving members of the Police, Fire and Protections department who will carry torches from Somerset and St George’s before lighting a cauldron at the NSC for the opening of the event.

The relay begins at 8.30am, with one team leaving Somerset Cricket Club and a second team leaving St George’s Square.

Both will meet on East Broadway to then run through city streets making their way to the Stadium.

One of the organisers, Alicia Zuill, said: “The event is for people with intellectual and physical disabilities. It really is a great day and something all the athletes look forward to.”

Special Olympics Bermuda reactivated its charitable status in November 2015, after a ten-year hiatus.

It was reborn thanks to the efforts of Zuill and Rickey Watts, of CedarBridge Academy.

Both have supported past students for 15 years at local and overseas regional sporting events.

Zuill added: “It is our hope that Bermuda will be able to take a team to Dubai in 2019 for the World Games. That is our goal and we are working very hard to try and make that happen.”

Chandra Bascome, the treasurer for Special Olympics Bermuda, said: “At last year’s track and field meet, I witnessed persons with Intellectual Disabilities (ID) who did not communicate and who did not seem to be aware of their surroundings run.

“And I saw every one of these people running in their lane and smiling as they crossed the finish line. I could only imagine that they felt joy and elation doing this, just as I did watching them.

“These sporting events are an important catalyst for social change. It allows persons without ID to not only accept but actually value persons with these disabilities in all aspects of life.”

Craig Tyrrell, the operations manager at the NSC, said: “Sport is something that everyone can take part in and enjoy. We are really looking forward to hosting this event.”

The Special Olympics will be held today from 11am to 4pm.

Special Olympics are the sporting body that provides those who have an intellectual disability, the ability to transform their lives through sport.

Special Olympics Bermuda has been sanctioned for bocce, golf, archery, tennis, bowling, swimming, equestrian and athletics.