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Special Olympics basketball tournament tips-off

When the annual Special Olympics Basketball Invitational tips off today, only teams from The Bahamas will take to the court. National Chairman of Special Olympics Bahamas, Basil Christie explained that the Caribbean countries that usually attends the tournament were unable to do so, due to the economic downturn and the hosting of the Special Olympics World Games, next year.

Regional countries like Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Guadeloupe and the Cayman Islands participated in past years. The tournament which is in its 10th year will be played at Loyola Hall, on Gladstone Road. Teams from New Providence, Grand Bahama and Abaco will battle for the title. Opening ceremony for the tournament will start at 10:30 a.m. and the first game will be played shortly after.

“It is unfortunate that none of the regional teams will be coming and only teams from The Bahamas will be competing,” said Christie.”The importance of this tournament is for us to select the players for our basketball team for the World Games, for Special Olympics, next year. Since we will be sending a basketball team we wanted to use the tournament to prepare the team better o play against some of the other countries from the Caribbean.

“So I guess all the other teams were going to do what we were hoping to do, that is to try and get some play in at this tournament. There aren’t any other tournaments scheduled like that. The tournaments are held every four years or so. If we don’t organize tournaments within ourselves then we will have to wait until the international tournaments and that is too far away.”

The Special Olympics World Games will be held in Athens, June 25-July 4. The games will attract some 7,500 Special Olympic Athletes from 185 countries, who will participate in some 22 Olympic-type sports.

Christie confirmed that all athletes competing in the games will receive medals no matter where they finish. The Bahamas will be competing in several of the top sports and Christie believes that they will be successful.

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