Nadia McLennan and daughter, Felicia McLennan, share the same dream – to “Win gold” at the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles, California. The two will team up to help represent Barbados in the largest sports and humanitarian event in the world in 2015, in the sport of bocce (pronounced BAW-chee), a bowling game of African and Roman origin. Nadia says bocce is a “highly competitive sport which stimulates the brain because you are forced to strategise.” Felicia says the sport is “good exercise,” and she likes the competition.
Joining Nadia and Felicia on the Special Olympics Barbados bocce team for the World Games, to be held July 25 through August 2, are Special Olympics athlete Patrick Hinds and unified partner Rico Wiggins of the Barbados Defense Force Sports Programme. Unified partners are participants, who do not have intellectual disabilities and compete alongside athletes, who have intellectual disabilities. Nadia McLennan will participate with her daughter as a unified partner against other unified teams.
Special Olympics Barbados Head Bocce Coach Lois Innis says she believes Nadia “was quite surprised” when she asked her to partner with her daughter Felicia for the World Games. The coach is “looking forward to a good performance from the mother and daughter team.” She has reason to feel that way because Nadia is also assistant bocce coach, and has been working closely, for a decade, with Felicia and the other bocce athletes to make them better players. In the previous Special Olympics World Games, held in 2011 in Athens, Greece, the two athletes representing Barbados in bocce, Justin Edwards and Laura Sobers, both returned home from the international competition with bronze medals.
Felicia says this time, in the World Games, she wants “to come home with medals,” but she is also looking forward to meeting athletes from other countries. She will have a great opportunity to do so because the World Games will draw 7,000 athletes and 3,000 coaches from 177 countries.
Special Olympics Barbados plans to send 26 athletes and two unified partners to the 2015 World Games in Los Angeles from July 25 through August 2, and fundraising is a priority. The trip will cost in excess of $200,000.00, and Special Olympics Barbados is appealing to the corporate community, the Barbados community and individual contributors to help make dreams come true for the athletes, who have been training hard to compete in five sports disciplines: aquatics, athletics (track and field), bocce, golf and soccer (seven-a-side football). In addition to providing major financial support for the trip to the World Games, Digicel has establish the “Digicel Road to the World Games Fund.” Those wishing to help a full team of Barbados athletes compete in the Special Olympics World Games can do so by contributing to the fund at CIBC First Caribbean International Bank, account number 1001111009.