Special Olympics Bahamas (SOB) officially launched its road to Abu Dhabi campaign and executives of the local branch said, they are looking to field a 40-member team at the 2019 Special Olympics Summer Games.
Around 7,000 athletes from 170 nations are expected to compete in the week-long event, which runs from March 14-21.
SOB will host several fund-raising events over the course of the year, including its annual track and field championships and torch run, however. National Director Gilbert Williams said, the organization is still relying on support from corporate Bahamas, and private citizens, to help turn their vision into reality.
“The total cost of taking a 40-member team would run us into a little over $100,000,” Williams said.
“We need assistance from corporate Bahamas and private citizens to pull this off. If they don’t, then there is a good chance we won’t get to go. We appreciate everyone that has consistently supported our cause, but we are going to need more people to get behind us, as we prepare to get our team to Abu Dhabi.”
Williams added that the athletes take no shortcuts preparing themselves to compete and are truly deserving of the opportunity to represent the country on the biggest stage.
“These athletes are pushing themselves hours at a time, week in and week out,” he said.
“We have athletes competing in soccer for the first time, track and field, bocce, basketball and swimming, and all of them work very hard. I can assure that they are pushing themselves in order to make sure they are ready, if they get a chance to compete next summer.”
As it stands, SOB’s chief fundraiser is the annual torch run/family fun day and the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) plays an integral role in organizing the events.
The RBPF usually makes up the majority of the event’s competitors, along with members of the country’s defense force, immigration and customs officers.
All of the proceeds from the family fun day will be donated to SOB’s efforts to compete on the world stage.