Jean-Marc de Sylva won Seychelles’ first gold medal in the running long jump with 2.38m. (Special Olympics Seychelles/Facebook)
(Seychelles News Agency) – Seychelles won two gold medals, two silver and six bronze medals at the 2023 Special Olympic World Games in Berlin, Germany.
The gold medals for Team Seychelles came from Jean-Marc de Sylva in the running long jump with 2.38m. He finished ahead of Mauritius’ Mitchell Prosper with 2.17m and in third place was Richard Peter of South Sudan with a jump of 1.05m.
The second gold medal came from powerlifting with Richard Sophola who lifted 185kg to claim first place ahead of Khaled Aribi from Algeria, who lifted 159kg.
Sophola also won a silver in the squat event lifting 120kg.
|Gold also went to Richard Sophola in powerlifting. (Special Olympics Seychelles/Facebook) Photo License: All Rights Reserved|
Team Seychelles won another silver medal when Suzie Sarakiya finished first in bocce women’s single.
The bronze medals were won in the bocce women’s double with Agnielle Charlette, and Peter Valentin and Greham Jacques winning a bronze each in the singles for men.
Valentin and Jacques also won bronze medals in the bocce men’s doubles.
The national director of Special Olympics Seychelles, Helen Ernesta, who is part of the delegation in Berlin, told SNA on Monday that “our small group of 10 athletes performed quite well. We had many challenges but our team did well and tried their best.”
Ernesta said that “The competition was very tough and like I keep telling people who think that because our athletes have some impairment, the competitions are made easier that is not the case. The competition was tough all around.”
The Seychelles delegation at the World Games in Berlin. (Special Olympics Seychelles/Facebook) Photo License: All Rights Reserved
She added that the achievement was due to intensive training since Team Seychelles was selected in December 2022.
“We are really really happy for Richard who won a gold medal in powerlifting because we have never done powerlifting here in Special Olympics. So when we were told we had powerlifting on our quota I asked who would do that. Since Richard is a shot putt athlete we had him trained with some local coaches. Today I am very proud of him,” said Ernesta.
The island nation in the western Indian Ocean competed in the 16th Special Olympic World Games with a total of 10 athletes in three disciplines – athletics, bocce and powerlifting.
Team Seychelles will return on June 28.
The games featured about 7,000 athletes and unified partners from approximately 190 countries competing in 26 sports assisted by 3,000 coaches and 20,000 volunteers.
The event is organised by the world’s largest sports organisation for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.
Like the International Paralympic Committee, the Special Olympics organisation is recognised by the International Olympic Committee; however, unlike the Paralympic Games, Special Olympics World Games are not held in the same year nor in conjunction with the Olympic Games.
The next Special Olympics World Games will take place in Perth, Australia in 2027.