NSC welcomes successful Special Olympics team home
Director of Sport Steve Ninvalle led a welcome party in the wee hours of Tuesday at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport to greet the successful Guyana Special Olympics team, who returned from Germany.
The Office of the First Lady, who also sponsored the team, was represented by the Director of Projects and Policy. Ravin Singh.
An Indigenous dancing quartet and a Tassa Troupe provided a festive hero’s welcome to the five-member Olympics contingent, which comprised Head of the Delegation Wilton Spencer, Athletes Rachel Mortley, Stephanie Ramotar, Daniel Samsundar, and coach Lavern Lee-Alleyne.
Held for the first time in Berlin, from June 17th-25th, Guyana won four medals in the discipline of Bocce.
The team returned to local shores with one gold accolade in the female singles segment, three silver medals in the female doubles division, and a bronze award in the male singles section. Approximately 7000 athletes and 3000 coaches from 190 nations participated in the prestigious event, which featured 26 disciplines.
Ninvalle praised the group on behalf of President Irfaan Ali, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport Charles Ramson Jr, and the Government of Guyana for their noteworthy accomplishments in representing their nation.
According to Ninvalle, this achievement highlights what can be achieved when unwavering commitment supersedes prevailing challenges, noting that support will emanate and be forthcoming from the relevant sports entities to build on this noteworthy success.
Ninvalle disclosed that while he has never played the sport of Bocce, the resulting triumphs of the team have afforded the discipline mainstream aspiration.
He further revealed that a formal meeting between the Olympic team and Minister Ramson Jr will ensue and that all matters relating to the development of the sport can and will be ventilated to move the discipline forward.
“To the team, heartfelt congratulations,” Ninvalle concluded.
On the other hand, Head of the Delegation Spencer thanked the welcoming committee for the unexpected but overwhelming and appreciative reception, noting that the team worked assiduously to be able to compete at a “world-class activity” despite being only afforded a preparatory phase of seven months.
According to Spencer, though the team was unable to train on the requisite surface for the discipline, a reality only afforded upon arrival in Berlin, he is delighted with the group’s performance.
He explained, “Even though better could have been done. We made a few mistakes which cost us a few more gold medals, but never the less we rallied through and returned to Guyana with one gold, three silvers, and a bronze.”
Spencer further declared that the Special Olympics team has never departed local shores to compete at this strata and returned empty-handed, affirming that not only financial support is required but facilities conducive to developing this sporting fraternity.
Meanwhile, the soft-spoken athletic trio of Rachel Mortley, Stephanie Ramotar, and Daniel Samsundar stated that the event was a fantastic experience and that they are delighted to have represented their country and secured silverware.