The Special Olympics has, for many years, provided sports men and women who cannot compete in the usual Olympic games the opportunity to show off their skills and prove that people with intellectual disabilities should be considered as serious athletes.
The World Golfers Tournament took place in Abu Dhabi, capital city of the United Arab Emirates.
Andrew White, 54, from Muldersdrift’s Logwood Village, a home for intellectually disabled adults in South Africa, earned the opportunity to participate in the 2019 World Golfers Tournament, which is part of the Special Olympics.
His biggest reason for playing golf, other than for the fun of it, is because he gets the chance to travel around the world.
After an eight-hour flight, the South African team was taken to Ras al Khaimah, the city set to host the team during their stay. Here they learned all about the country’s culture, food and a little bit of its history.
A two-and-a-half-hour bus trip later, Andrew and his team found themselves in Abu Dhabi, only 10 minutes away from the tournament golf course. Here he competed in a pro-am competition where he walked away with the gold in the Level 5, Division 2 tournament.
For his first round, Andrew took 101 shots to make it into the 18th hole. Later, it took him only 89, 91 and 84 shots to finish up the next few rounds. Only about 21 per cent of adult players in the world can finish an 18-hole game in under 90 strokes. Clearly, no disability could keep Andrew from proving his worth as a golf player.
Andrew has been playing golf since he was a child. “My dad taught me how to play. He also played golf,” he told the media.
However, he only played golf for fun until he was much older. Since then, he has won gold at the 1995 Special Olympics Summer Games in Connecticut, USA. He then went on to get a silver at the 2015 Special Olympic World Summer Games in Los Angeles.