Special Olympics team short of $11.6 million

Posted by Dresonic on June 28, 2007

Jamaica’s Special Olympics team is in need of some $11.6 million to participate in this year’s Special Olympics World Games to be held in Shanghai, China.

“At the moment it’s hard to say how much we have collected so far since we still have commitments and are still in the process of putting our figure together,” Lorna Bell, executive director of the Special Olympics team, told the Observer after a special ceremony held on Monday.

The event, held at Twin Gates Plaza in Kingston, not only marked 100 days to the Games, but also saw the hoisting of the Special Olympics team flag for the event.

Bell said that after the response she received after the ceremony things are looking good for the team’s departure.
“We should be leaving Jamaica come September 28,” she said positively.

Commitments have come in from organisations such as United Way of Jamaica, UNICEF and First Caribbean Bank.

Maurice Bryan, sponsorship and promotion manager at Digicel, the main sponsor, handed over $2million to the team. This amount is the last of three payments from a commitment made three years ago of $5 million to be paid over a three-year period towards administrative expenses.

Digicel, Bell said, will be making their contribution towards the trip to China.

Eastwood Limited, who will be monitoring the countdown of the number of days to go on a daily basis, also handed over $500,000 towards the trip.

The Jamaica Constabulary Force recently completed their Torch Run and has set aside a sum of $2 million towards the event.

“Carl Chang, property manager of Twin Gates Plaza, has made a commitment to have tins in each of the stores in the plaza to collect donations,” Bell explained.

She said come August 18, there will be a lap-a-ton at the Stadium East field, while volunteers will go out on the street with their tins.

The Jamaican team, which has a contingent of 71, including 50 athletes and 14 coaches, will depart on September 26 for the Games scheduled for October 2 to 11. They will return on October 13.

The team is slated to participate in aquatics, badminton, basketball, bocce, football and roller-skating.
Meanwhile, members of the team are enthusiastic about the upcoming event.

“I feel happy about going. This is my first time and I am really looking forward to it,” Esther Pair, Bocce athlete, who will be among the contingent for the games, said.

Her teammate Shereen Gordon shared similar sentiments.
“I am excited about it,” Gordon added.

Everyone who goes to the plaza will be able to share in the patriotism of the property managers, who have seen it fit to display the flags of the 120 countries who will be participating in the Special Olympics Games.

“The flags will be flying high from now until after the Games has ended,” Star Jackson, a member of the Twin Gates Association and longstanding tenant said.

She also explained that the display of flags is one of the pet project led by Chang and follows on the heels of the flag displayed for Cricket World Cup a few months ago.



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