THE SPECIAL OLYMPICS
PATTAYA SPORTS CLUB & JESTERS SUPPORT
Eunice Kennedy Shriver, an American lady, found that children and young adults from the age of seven, with intellectual disabilities or those with special needs, were being ignored, had nowhere to play or to kick a ball on the sports field. So in the late fifties she started a summers camp to entertain these children who were resident in her area. This was so successful that in July 1968 the first Special Olympics took shape for 1000 children. In Feb 1977 she started the Winter Special Olympics which included skiing, skating amongst many other exercises.
The Special Olympics is so popular that the summer and winter events take place bi-annually with 4.2 million athletes taking part in 180 different countries and is now the worlds’ biggest sporting event with more than 7500 athletes. The four regions of Thailand hold an annual event and the Eastern Region held its’ seventh games at school No. 7 recently. 270 children are involved in athletics, bocce and football and, would you believe, that cricket is also being demonstrated as a possible event in the future. The technique left a little to be desired but they had fun doing it. Some of the winners from Thailand are then invited to the next summer’s event which will take place in 2015 in Los Angeles.
Pattaya Sports Club, Jesters and YWCA are major sponsors of this event which was opened by Deputy Mayor Ronnakit Ekasing and so to the sports area where the athletics were taking place. The overriding factor in these events is the commitment and determination of each individual to finish the race, regardless of how far they were behind the others in the race and the smile on their faces when they crossed the finishing line was a joy to behold. In one particular event, a young athlete not more than 12 years old, was a lap behind but still insisted in finishing the 2 lap race being urged on, every step of the way, by the passionate volunteers. If all the golfers in Pattaya had this commitment, we would all be off single figures.
What a great two days.