By William Madouk
Three South Sudanese athletes have won four medals at the just concluded Special Olympic World Games in Berlin, Germany.
Athlete Ms. Sarah Juru won bronze and silver medals altogether while Ms. Esther Wayet won a silver medal; and Mr. Richard Peter got bronze in the 200-meter and 100-meter long-jump competitions.
This makes a total of two silver and bronze medals in South Sudan’s honor.
On jetting Juba, Rebecca Joshua Okwaci, the head of South Sudan Olympics Committee, expressed her gratitude to the trio athletes for bringing home four medals from the World Olympic Games.
“I want to tell the people of South Sudan that we have come with celebration; we went with our athletic team and came back with four medals,” Okwaci, who is also the SPLM Chief Whip in parliament, said.
“We will continue as leaders to stand by them and make sure that they are included, play their role, and raise the flag of South Sudan on the world map,” she added.
Thousands of athletes with intellectual disabilities compete together in 26 sports over nine days at the Games, from about 178 countries.
According to her, Special Olympics South Sudan caters for people with intellectual disabilities, and this is something South Sudan is still learning.
“It’s very important that people who have challenges in their cognitive skills need to be included, and our motto is always inclusion—people must be included even if they have disabilities,” she noted.
Okwaci added, “What we have also learned is that if you include them [people with disabilities], they improve, their cognitive skills, and their intellectual capability improves too.”
She lamented about the logistical challenges that almost made them miss out on the competitions, adding that South Sudan should make early preparations for the upcoming games.
“Next time we need to prepare early because it’s not easy from that side; it’s a whole world that gathered. But we have come back, and we really want to congratulate our athletes and tell them thanks for raising the flag of South Sudan,” she cherished.
“I also want to thank the coaches, who have also taken a lot of time to play their roles, our medical doctors, and the volunteers that were on the ground here helping us before we traveled.