I wanted to share two great email reports we got from our field this week. The first event highlights a Special Olympics South Africa (SOSA) swimming event with future Princess of Monaco Charlene Wittstock. Below that is a picture to share the wonderful news that Special Olympics Lebanon has a new Honorary Chairperson, none other than the First Lady of Lebanon, Her Excellency Wafaa Michel Sleiman!
Email from SOSA:
Charlene Wittstock handed over a cheque to SOSA valued at €60,000 and also held a benefit breakfast in Pietermaritzburg with proceeds for SOSA.
This was the first time that Charlene had competed in the Midmar Mile (the biggest timed open water swimming event in the world) and so she decided that rather than swimming it competitively that she would swim alongside SOSA athletes. Joining Charlene was Olympic Gold medallist Roland Schoeman, Olympic silver medallist Terence Parkin and ‘the human polar bear’, Lewis Pugh. Individuals of all disabilities, those competing in the iron man and the biathlon events competed in the first race of the day at 8h30 for a straight 1 mile swim in the Midmar Dam, Pietermaritzburg, SA.
First out of the water was Special Olympics South Africa athlete leader Craig Groenewald and he was closely followed by athletes without disabilities. Charlene Wittstock presented the awards for the ‘Disability category’ with SOSA athletes taking gold, silver and bronze for both males and females in the ‘Intellectually Impaired’ category. Craig Groenewald’s winning time was 21:06 whilst the ladies winner and SOSA representative to the 2011 SOWSG open water swim event, Cornelia Fowler completed the event in 27:49.
Charlene is looking forward to making this an annual event on her calendar whilst SOSA in turn plans to grow the field of 43 athletes that completed this year’s event.
See some photos from the event!
Email from SO Lebanon:
See this photo from my meeting with Lebanon’s First Lady on 28 Jan in Beirut in the presence of SO Lebanon’s athlete & Board members. Her Excellency accepted the position of the Honorary Chair of SO Lebanon! (Editor’s note: the First Lady is pictured center left of the framed gift with Special Olympics Middle East North Africa Regional President and Managing Director Ayman Wahab pictured center right.)