Tuesday, February 16 – Puerto Rico will be the venue where our very own Special Olympics Football Team for the very first time will showcase their talent at the Latin American Special Olympics Games from February 19 to 27.

Seven young people will represent the Territory in this grand sporting event to be held under the slogan “Be a Fan”. At a press conference held on February 15 Minister for Education and Culture Honourable Andrew Fahie told the young athletes they are already winners. “You are winners for taking the challenge and you must compete to the best of your abilities but most importantly you must have fun,” he urged.

Minister Fahie added, “Just being able to go to a Special Olympics and people taking time to carry you there and be with you makes you winners already. I am truly overwhelmed with joy because there is so much that can be done once everyone comes together to pitch in,” he said.  

“I am looking for you to bring back gold,” Minister Fahie told the athletes, “the gold in your heart knowing that you have done your best and the gold for giving your all to win.”

Honourable Fahie also announced that Government has been in discussion with the International Federation of Football Association (FIFA) about the development of an international football facility in the Territory.

Education Officer for Special Needs Education Ms. Lorna Dawson said Special Olympics has led the change in the attitude of the world towards persons with intellectual disabilities. “They are now being seen as people who can learn, perform, contribute and change lives for better,” she said.

“Special Olympics believe that through sports training and competition, people with intellectual disabilities benefit physically, mentally, socially and spiritually. Families are strengthened and the community at large, both through participation and observation is united in understanding people with intellectual disabilities in an environment of equality, respect and acceptance,” she said.

National Director, Special Olympics BVI Mrs. Allison Knights Bramble spoke about the opportunity that this represents for the team and the committee. “It is the first time that Special Olympics BVI will attend an overseas tournament. The team will be away for a total of 10 days which will be filled with competition, activities and fun making it an incredibly exciting time for the boys who have trained hard over the past four months.”

Mrs. Bramble outlined some of the activities that will take place during the event which include forum in health education and sports, youth rally, healthy athletes screening, professional sports clinics and much more.

Athlete Representative to the Board of Special Olympics BVI Mr. Jamie Murray said he is pleased to represent the Special Olympics athletes who will be participating in the games. “I think it will be great experience for myself and the six other athletes who are taking part in this very special event. It will give us better concentration skills; learn how to communicate with other athletes and most of all, develop better team work skills.

The players who will represent the Territory are Messrs Ali Davis from BVI Services, Delroy Gordon from BVI Technical and Vocational Institute, Akeem David, Brandon Foxe and Zva Vern Adams from Eslyn Henley Richez Learning Centre, Glenford Gordon from Horizon Yacht Charters and Jamie Murray. Missing from the team will be Mr. Kenton Lettene from Virgin Gorda who is recovering from a broken foot. The delegation will be led by be Ms. Lorna Dawson and includes Mrs. Alison Knights Bramble, Mr. Lenroy Henry and Mr. Kayron Todman. The delegation will leave the Territory on February 18.

Special Olympics BVI was launched on June 28, 2009 and was appointed a fully accredited programme in December of that year.

For the BVI YG article on Allison Knights Bramble: http://www.bviguides.com/Domains/bviyachtguide/featured_article/editorial/women_on_the_water.html