Ranging in age from eleven to seventeen years, the Barbados aquatics athletes headed to the 2015 Los Angeles Special Olympics World Games are young. However, age is certainly not a concern at the competition, which will run from July 25 through August 2. In Special Olympics, intellectually disabled athletes in every sport and event are grouped by age, gender, and ability, giving everyone a reasonable chance to win. At Special Olympics events, there are no world records because each athlete, whether in the fastest or the slowest division is valued and recognized equally. In every division, all athletes receive an award, from gold, silver, and bronze medals, to fourth through eighth-place ribbons.
Although the four Special Olympics Barbados swimmers are almost certain to, at least, return home with ribbons, they want medals, and they have been training hard under the direction of head coach Adele Price to reach that goal. Eleven year old Abbygaile Mayers will compete in the 25 metre backstroke, 25 metre freestyle and the 4-by-25 metre relay. Kofi Cadogan, who is 14 years old, will swim in the 25 metre backstroke, 25 metre freestyle and the 4-by-25 metre relay. At 16 years of age, Jay-Tee Brathwaite, will speed down the pool lanes in the 50 metre backstroke, 50 metre freestyle and the 4-by-25 metre relay. The senior member of the Special Olympics Barbados team is 17 year-old Dion Ellyatt, who will compete in the 50 metre backstroke, 100 metre freestyle and will join her team members for the 4-by-25 metre relay.
Special Olympics Barbados is sending a team of 26 athletes to the Los Angeles Special Olympics World Games, which will be the biggest sports and humanitarian event in the world in 2015. In addition to aquatics, Barbados athletes will compete in athletics (track and field) bocce, golf and soccer (seven-a-side football). The World Games will attract 7,000 athletes from 177 countries, and Barbados athletes will be among them. Corporate supporters and individuals, who wish to help in the effort to send a Barbados team to the Special Olympics World Games, can do so by donating to the “Digicel Road to the World Games Fund” at CIBC First Caribbean Bank, account number 1001111009.
*Photo caption: “Special Olympics aquatics athletes Dion Ellyatt (front), Abbygaile Mayers (left), Kofi Cadogan (center) and Jay-Tee Brathwaite (right) display the “Circle of Inclusion and Acceptance”, symbol of the 2015 Special Olympics World Games.”