Special Olympics Trinidad and Tobago (SOTT) will be staging its first Seaside Games for persons with intellectual disabilities on Sunday, at the Maracas Beach Facility. The games, which will involve open water swimming, beach volleyball, an aquathlon (Run-Swim-Run) and beach soccer, will be an all-day event, starting at 7.30 a.m. and concluding at 4.00 p.m.
The SOTT Seaside Games fall within the Special Olympics Community Sports Training Programme; it will bring together an estimated 175 athletes, coaches, officials and volunteers from special needs organisations across the two-island state to showcase their skills in the four sporting disciplines.
The Seaside Games are meant to be a demonstration of beach sports as an option to increase the range of sports offered to athletes with intellectual disabilities, as well as an avenue to educate the public about such persons.
In keeping with the team's commitment to promote the Special Olympics International #PlayUnified theme, the open water swim event will be held in partnership with the Trinity Masters swimming group. It will serve as part of SOTT's awareness campaign, as on every team, persons with and without disabilities will be participating together.
Training for local coaches and volunteers has also been arranged. Today, Kester Edwards, a former T&T Special Olympian, will conduct an open water swim coaching workshop at the Cascadia in St. Ann's. Joining him in facilitating the workshop will be SOTT Aquatics head coach, Stephen Telfer and Mike Nayarko.
On Sunday, the Seaside Games will begin with the open water swim; each special athlete will be paired with one of the Trinity Masters veterans, who will guide them through the 750 metre swim.
Similarly, in the beach volleyball event to follow, the teams will comprise two Special Olympics athletes and two volleyball players.
In the aquathlon, special athletes will be required to run 50 metres, swim 200 metres and run another 50 metres.
Closing off the day's activities will be the beach volleyball event, which will consist of five-a-side games among the special athletes. And in keeping with the theme of partnership, members of the national beach soccer team, currently preparing for the Beach Soccer World Cup Qualifiers, will team up with the special athletes in some unified exhibition games.