(CNS Local Life): Governor Martyn Roper hosted an outdoor reception for Special Olympics Cayman Islands (SOCI) at Government House this week. A delegation of about 40 athletes plus coaches and officials attended the afternoon tea Monday, 4 March, ahead of the squad’s departure for the 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, 14-21 March.
The team will represent the Cayman Islands in athletics, basketball, bocce and swimming, stated a government press release.
In welcoming the delegation, the governor said, “I am delighted to host at Government House the Cayman Islands team attending the Special Olympics in Abu Dhabi. I wanted to have an opportunity to send you my best wishes and wish you every success.
“It is a pleasure to meet you all and to hear about your aspirations. The most successful societies are ones that make the most of all diverse talents, skills and experiences of its citizens and our athletes attending the Games have so much to contribute to our society. I thank everyone involved in giving them this opportunity.”
SOCI Chairman Adrian Lynch pointed out that this was the 50th anniversary of the Special Olympics and the 30th anniversary of SOCI.
“The squad was very successful at the Los Angeles Games four years ago and we want to build on that marvellous momentum,” Lynch said in the press release. “Everyone going this Thursday is strongly committed to doing the best that they can do at the Summer Games and doing the Cayman Islands proud. The squad also wants to do well in memory of SOCI stalwart and swim coach Penny McDowall.”
For basketball forward and the delegation’s oldest member Andrew Smilley, 29, the Summer Games will be his sixth time representing Cayman at the Special Olympics.
“I’m looking forward to doing my best and working hard with my team,” he said. “We will give each match 100 per cent and appreciate all the support and encouragement we’re receiving from everyone here at home.”