July 05, 2011

The Belize Special Olympics five a side football team captured the bronze medal at the Special Olympics World Summer Games which were held in Athens, Greece. The eight man team is expected to arrive on Friday and will be honored as National Heroes in a special celebration of their accomplishment. Chairman of the Special Olympics Alan Auil spoke to us via telephone today.

Alan Auil – Chairman, Special Olympics Belize
“They played a round robin in the group phase and after the group phase they played for the bronze medal and in the bronze medal match they beat Indonesia two to nil and so they are coming home on Friday with bronze medals. The only event we participated in was football. Actually in the past Belize has participated at the world summer games, the last time they had one was four years ago in China and we participated in track and field events. Every previous time we have been to world summer games for Special Olympics it has been track and field or what people would call athletics event this is the first time we participated in a team sport. For the first time we have been doing the five aside football, it is also the first international competition for us in five a side football. The interesting thing is that Special Olympics did not announce the age group that would have competed at this year’s world summer games and according to their own rules they have various age categories, 8 to 11, 12 to 15, 16 to 21 and over 21 and so we prepared for the 12 to 15 age group and it turns out that they had an open competition and so they were no age categories and so our boys who were between the ages of 12 and 15 competed against grown adults and so really they did very well considering that they were physically smaller than all the teams they competed against.”

Belize’s team was among seven thousand athletes from one hundred and eighty countries who competed in Greece in various disciplines. The entire delegation will be hosted by Global Ambassador for Special Olympics, Kim Simpliss Barrow at a welcome reception at the Princess Hotel on Friday, July 8th.


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