Seaside Games in Las Cuevas a hit

Beach Soccer action at the Special Olympics of Trinidad and Tobago-hosted Seaside Games at Las Cuevas on Sunday.

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The Special Olympics of Trinidad and Tobago (SOTT) held its second ever Seaside Games for persons with intellectual disabilities, on Sunday, and involved events such as an Open Water Swim, an Aquathlon (run-swim-run) along with Beach Volleyball and Beach Soccer.

This year, the Seaside Games shifted to Las Cuevas from Maracas Bay due to the current renovations taking place at the Maracas facility. The Seaside Games were introduced so athletes can participate in beach sports, thereby increasing the number of activities offered to athletes with intellectual disabilities and to also educate members of the public about persons with special needs. The event was made possible by key collaborations with SOTT, the Beach Soccer Association of Trinidad and Tobago, Caribbean Cross Training (aquathlon), Trinity Masters Swim Club and Trinidad and Tobago Volleyball Federation.

National Director of SOTT, Ferdinand Bibby, hailed the change of scenery, stating, “This year’s Seaside initiative was definitely larger than last year’s and everything ran smoothly from the get-go. The weather was also better as this played a huge part and made room for a wonderful day at the Las Cuevas facility.”

Bibby said it is important to continue increasing the number of participants and competitions and said he was particularly thrilled to see the general public also included in some of the activities during the course of the day.

The public response from the new location left the organisers contemplating next year’s event venue as they are thinking of promoting the event by taking it to various beaches across the island.

The day started with the Open Water race as defending champion, Nikolai Lalla, retained his title in the Boys 750m race, finishing in a time of seven minutes and 7.86 seconds. Jaleel Pierre came in second with his time of 8:13.02 while Anton Augustus completed the event in 9:14.00. The Girls 750m Open Water race saw Shaina Surajballi taking the top spot with her time of 9:16.91. She was followed by Melissa Nanan’s 15:00.80 and Vanessa Maharaj in third with her time of 17:59.03.

In the 50m race, the winners circle remained the same as the previous races. Lalla, Pierre and Augustus took the first, second and third spot, respectively, in the Boys category; Surajballi, Nanan and Maharaj rounded out the Girls equivalent in that order.

The volleyball competition saw a mixture of athletes from the various participating teams compete against each other. The three main teams present on the day were the National Centre for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD) as well as two Lady Hochoy schools, namely, San Fernando and Gasparillo. They were grouped into combined teams of three and the athletes were given the option of naming their sides.

In the beach soccer, teams battled each other in a five vs five setting with the public getting the opportunity to play against a combined SOTT side.

In the final game of the day, the SOTT team came from behind to win 3-2 against a group of challengers.

OVERALL RESULTS:

750M Open Water Swim

  1. Nicolai Lalla
  2. Jaleel Pierre
  3. Anton Augustus
  4. Shaina Surajballi
  5. Stephan Singh

50M Swim Male

  1. Nicolai Lalla
  2. Jaleel Pierre
  3. Anton Augustus

50M Swim Female

  1. Shaina Surajballi
  2. Melissa Nanan
  3. Vanessa Maharaj

Volleyball

  1. Team Pros
  2. Team Sports
  3. Team Sharks