Olympians come back victorious

Linda Moreotsene

Linda Moreotsene

The South African Special Olympics team tomorrow returns victorious from the 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games in China, after putting on a brilliant performance.

The 84-member team joined other athletes from a 163 countries in Shanghai, China, for the event, which comes around every four years.

By yesterday the South Africans had already won 88 medals in codes such as athletics, basketball, aquatics and football.

Among the outstanding performers at the 39- year-old tournament were Nelson Bass, who now holds a Games record in the 21,1km race and Jennifer Higgins who broke the national and international records held by the Downs Syndrome Swimming Association.

The team featured athletes of all ability levels, including those competing at a skills level comparable to elite athletes competing in the Invited Athlete Programme for the first time.

The South African women's soccer team was said to have been extremely proud of having beaten the England team during the group stages.

The support from their families, Mathews Phosa, chairman of the Special Olympics South Africa board, patron and football legend Lucas Radebe, and ambassador Leah Tutu cheering in the stands encouraged the athletes to perform above themselves.