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Special Olympians To Reach in Time for Graduation

Jun 28, 2023

Special Olympians To Reach in Time for Graduation

Several students who are on the Special Olympics Team that were delayed in New York when their flight schedule was interrupted will arrive in Belize in time for their graduation on Thursday. The four students and two of their chaperones were supposed to land in Belize with the rest of their teammates on Tuesday on a United Airlines flight, but their flight schedules were interrupted and the students have had to cross their fingers whether they’d reach home in time to receive their certificates from Stella Maris School where they attend classes. They and their teammates performed remarkably well when they competed over the last several days at the Special Olympics Games in Germany, bringing home several medals. Today News Five’s Marion Ali spoke with Marshall Nunez, who is the Vice Chairperson of the Special Olympics, Belize. Here’s that report.

Marion Ali, Reporting

On Tuesday, airline companies in New York had to cancel hundreds of flights amidst lingering storms. One of those cancellations affected six members of the Belize Olympic Team that were on their way back home.

Marshall Nunez

Marshall Nunez, Vice Chairperson, Special Olympics, Belize

“Yesterday, there were hundreds of cancellations of flights in that area of the U.S. between the Washington, New York area. Our delegation was booked on United Airlines, but the flights were cancelled. As the board, we have an obligation to do everything that we possibly can to get the delegation back here. The four athletes are all students at Stella Maris School, and they are having their graduation tomorrow morning at 10.”

Vice Chairperson of the Special Olympics in Belize, Marshall Nunez, explained to News Five today that they spent the better part of Tuesday trying to see how they could get the students home in time for their graduation. With a little luck, they managed to pull it off.

Marshall Nunez

“This morning they were able to, well, they passed the security checks and the TSA counter and everything, and we were at the gate waiting to be boarded. They have rerouted them through Cancun. There is a direct flight from Washington, D. C. to Cancun. We believe that they’re going to make the flight. We keep our fingers crossed. Once they make that flight, they should arrive in Cancun around three o’clock this afternoon. A bus has already been secured to – it’s a rental to bring them from Cancun to Chetumal and we have made arrangements, with the National Sports Council here – they have a van, so we will go to the border and wait for them. In terms of time, if they arrive in Cancun, three o’clock, we are expected that around 7, 7:30 tonight. They should be at the border in Corozal, and if we are there and we pick them up, we should be in Belize City by 11, 11:30 tonight.”

The sport that the students excelled in is not one commonly known in Belize.

Marshall Nunez

“There were over 7, 000 athletes representing 192 countries. We took a small delegation of six: the head of delegation, the director, which coupled as a coach, and four athletes. We participated in one sport, bocce, but in five categories. It’s a member of the bowling family of games. It’s played on a, on a turf, and then they really bowl the ball just like when you’re doing bowling. And the intention is for you to accumulate more points than your opponent. The opposing teams have different color balls and then there are neutral balls. So what you want to do is to gain points by advancing your ball and using the neutral balls to help you to advance yours without the opponent advancing theirs.”

Altogether, the team is bringing back two silver medals, one bronze and two ribbons. They graduate from Stella Maris on Thursday. Marion Ali for News Five.