The Formula One night race was in Singapore a few weekends ago, and Special Olympics Singapore athletes had the privilege of taking a Pit Walk, courtesy of race promoter Singapore GP Pte Ltd.
Here’s an account from Clara Wong, a Singapore GP writer who covered the visit for their internal newsletter ‘OffTrack’.
“22 September was a memorable night for many of our marshals and especially for about 20 Special Olympics youths (accompanied by their parents and volunteers) from Special Olympics Singapore.
The Race Organizing Committee of the 2011 FORMULA 1 SINGTEL SINGAPORE GRAND PRIX arranged a Pit Walk for these athletes to allow them to experience the thrill of being on the Formula 1 race track and especially the Pit Lane where they get to see the race cars up close, and witness the team technicians working in the garage.
Being in the Pit Lane is already something that makes our marshals (save for those stationed at Pit and Grid) tingle with excitement, what more can be said of these invited guests?
“(Prior to this trip) most of the kids were very excited and kept talking about it. Some of them told me they couldn’t sleep. Some even got ready their attire, like one boy who specially wore a pair of Red Bull shoes when he found out it was one of the teams that was racing,” said Edwin Lim, Operations Manager for Special Olympics Singapore.
“This is an eye-opener for our athletes as many of them will not get a chance to see the race, or even the tracks itself,” Edwin continued.
As I accompanied the athletes in one of the buses ferrying the athletes around the race track, I felt the athletes’ joy, as they waved their flags and stared out of the windows in awe, as if not quite believing they were at the Marina Bay Street Circuit – something that they have only seen, heard, and read through the media.
“One of the objectives of this trip is to allow our athletes to mingle with the officials and make new friends. Our organization advocates for people with intellectual disabilities and we want to empower these people to build up their confidence level and self-esteem. Besides preparing our athletes for sports and competitions, we also want to integrate them into mainstream society. Therefore trips like this are important for them,” explains Edwin.
The joy on the faces of both our marshals and our special guests that night clearly showed that it was a magical night for all to remember.”
Pictures courtesy of Special Olympics Singapore and Singapore GP