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Jamaica rep says South Korea ready for Games

Published:Thursday | April 12, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Glendon West has returned to the island with glowing praises for the organisers of the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games, having gone to the Head of Delegation (HOD) conference in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

According to West, plans are well under way for the staging of the event and Special Olympics Jamaica's (SOJ) delegation to the Games should be well taken care of from his observation while being in South Korea. This, he said, will be from Jamaica's arrival there through to the start of the Games on January 26, up until its conclusion on February 6.

It is a report that pleases SOJ's executive director, Lorna Bell, who said that a squad of 23 athletes for floor hockey and four for figure skating is currently in training. The coaches are Yolanda Reid from Manchester, Michelle Romans from Westmoreland, and Valery Murphy from the Institute of Sports for floor hockey; and Jackie Bennett for figure skating. Patricia Lu-Chin will be the assistant HOD respon-sible for medical/physiotherapy.

Bell said: "Once again Digicel, who has been a major sponsor of Special Olympics Jamaica since their arrival in Jamaica, has pledged their support and we invite each and every one to work with us for the betterment of these persons with intellectual disabilities."

Jamaica's budget for the Games is $6 million.

In his report, West said that Jamaica, being one of 98 countries that do not need visas to visit South Korea, should have a smooth process through immigration, and the process will be aided by exclusive checkpoints for immigration, baggage claim and customs inspection.

Satisfactory accomodation

The island's team will be staying at either Kwandong University or Yeongdong College in Gangeung City, where the floor hockey and figure skating competitions will be held. West opined that both Kwandong University and Yeong-dong College are excellent facilities, with the delegation being split into three persons to each room.

West pointed out that accommodation and transportation have been intertwined to ensure that travel will not be longer than one hour between the Games Village and the furthest competition site.

He said the Games Organising Committee (GOC) has made meals a major priority, with religion, diets and culture being taken into consideration when menus are being planned.

With regard to security, West said: "During the conference, I observed security details attached to the conference and site visits. The GOC is expected to have the best security available for all participants. There will be security checks at athletes' villages and competition sites. There will also be a security situation room at Pyeongchang, which will be manned 24 hours daily."

He pointed out that South Korea's security force has had experience in organising public events, including the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, the 2002 FIFA World Cup, and last year's World Championships in Daegu.

West also pointed out that during the Games, Jamaica's athletes will be able to participate in the Healthy Athletes Programme, which is expected to facilitate more than 2,000 athletes. The six disciplines in the programme are: opening eyes, fit feet, special smile, fun fitness, healthy hearing, and health promotion.