U.S. Paralympics Hosts Caribbean Development Program in Miami

By Katie Branham | March 19, 2019, 5:10 p.m. (ET)

Athletes and coaches from around the Caribbean gathered in Miami for the Caribbean Development Program.

This year’s Hurricane Invite at the University of Miami had an international flare as Paralympians and Paralympic hopefuls from Team USA, Aruba, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago competed side-by-side. The competition was part of the Caribbean Development Program, an Agitos Grant Support Project, hosted by U.S. Paralympics.

For eight days, athletes, coaches and sport administrators gathered in Miami to collaborate and learn both at the track and in the classroom. The morning sessions at the University of Miami track were a “learn by doing” session with U.S. athletes and coaches mentoring foreign coaches and athletes.

For Paralympic medalist Kym Crosby, the international connections were a highlight of the event.

“The best part of the event was being able to really connect with the other countries and get to know them better,” Crosby said. “We do not usually have the opportunity to do that at other events.”

For coach Felix Pina of Aruba, he is hopeful the event will help him lead his nation to the Paralympic podium one day.

"The experience has been full of learning with the workshop and at the stadium,” Pina said. “This was a profound experience, and the presenters knew what they are talking about. I will put all of this together for Aruba so we can reach a medal one day at the Paralympic Games."

Once training and competition wrapped up at the track, officials from each national Paralympic committee participated in a two-day session that included information on classification, anti-doping, communication, talent identification, athlete development and other topics.

“It is important for U.S. Paralympics that we are helping to grow the Paralympic Movement across the entire Americas region,” said Julie Dussliere, chief of U.S. Paralympics. “We are thankful to the support of the Agitos Foundation to put on events like this, as we all benefit from increased competition and strong relationships across the region.”