Mon, 25 Sep 2023

New Delhi [India], May 28 (ANI): With approximately 200 Special Olympics (SO) Bharat athletes, coaches, officials, and guests in attendance, Delhi held a send-off for their athletes and coaches representing the national capital at the Special Olympics World Summer Games to be held in Berlin, Germany in June 2023.

The event was held at the spectacular Delhi Golf Club, New Delhi, graced by the Chief Guest, the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, VK Saxena. Several distinguished guests including the Minister Of State for Youth Affairs and Sports, Nisith Pramanik, Minister Of State, Social Justice and Empowerment, Pratima Bhaumik, Manoj Tiwari, Member of Parliament and Kishan Bajoria, President, Delhi Golf Club wished luck to the participating athletes.

The event opened with a keyboard performance by two athletes of the state, Priyanka Dewan, a Roller Skating medallist from the Abu Dhabi World Games 2019 and Ayush Jha, a Shotput Athlete. The residents from the Asha Kiran Home, New Delhi, also medallists from previous games, performed the Ganesh Vandana, while Yashika Bhatt, the Basketball Silver Medallist from the Abu Dhabi Games joined the program anchors. Ranveer Singh, the Golfing Athlete and Shivani, the Cyclist who will be pitching a spot at the Berlin World Games felicitated the guests along with Dr Mallika Nadda, Chairperson, SO Bharat and Dr Upasna Arora, President, SO Bharat- Delhi. The Athletes, Coaches and youth summit participants were presented with the games kits by the dignitaries, as per a press release from the Special Olympics Bharat.

The flame of hope was ignited and handed over by the previous world games participants of the state to the Berlin participants. The torch symbolizes courage and celebration of diversity, uniting communities around the globe. The torch will journey across a few states and return on June 8 to Delhi, at the national send-off being held in the city. The event initiated the Best of Luck (BOL) campaign encouraging people to cheer the Special Olympics Champions through 30 days clearly marking three elements, namely, the Flame of Hope, the Send-off and the Welcome Ceremony that would be held at the end of June.

Dr Upasna Arora, President, SO Bharat- Delhi Chapter said, "The athletes who are in the spotlight today are those who have the ability to play and win. They have Intellectual Disabilities but have struggled to push their limit. It makes me proud as I see us being represented through them on a world stage. They have been playing for India for several years, winning accolades for the nation. It is time for us to understand that differences exist and we must be sensitive to recognise, accept and commend them."Dr Mallika Nadda, Chairperson, SO Bharat said: "Special Olympics is separate from Paralympics. I would like all of us to be mindful of the difference. Today we can all see that the Athletes of SO Bharat have a desire to bring glory to the nation. They are Athletes with Intellectual Disabilities but have hope and determination to win. We have assembled here to recognise and honour them. As wedo so let us join hands in opening opportunities for employment for them, enabling them to contribute meaningfully in the society that they are so much a part of. I trust that you all join me in extending best wishes to the Special Olympics Bharat Champions."In the words of Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena, "Persons with Intellectual and Developmental Delays are as much a part of the society as any other citizen. Our efforts should be in the direction of full Inclusion and empowerment of all our fellow citizens with special abilities. While the Delhi Government will continue to acknowledge the Medallists, we will soon plan schemes for their employment as well. We will endeavour to create space in all the DDA sports complexes in Delhi, congenial to the requirements of the Athletes with IDD. We will drive sincere efforts in setting up a stadium dedicated to them, for regular sports. This may take time, but making a provision for accommodating this segment of the population in the 46 sports complexes around Delhi would be done sooner."From June 17-25 2023, Berlin, Germany will welcome 7,000 Special Olympics athletes and Unified partners from approximately 190 countries to compete in 26 sports. The athletes will be supported by more than 3,000 coaches and 20,000 volunteers. 198 Athletes and partners and 57 Coaches are gearing up from India to participate in 16 Sports.

The Special Olympics World Games offer the opportunity to unite the world like no other event can. Here people with and without disabilities, people of different nations, cultures, political views, and religions meet and can overcome existing prejudices through the power of sport.

Special Olympics Bharat is a National Sports Federation accredited by Special Olympics Inc. USA, to conduct sports and development programs all over India. Special Olympics is a global inclusion movement using sports, health, education, and leadership programs every day around the world to end discrimination against and empower people with intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics Bharat is recognized by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India as a National Sports Federation for the development of Sports for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities. It is incumbent to inform that Special Olympics and Paralympics are separate entities wherein the former reaches out to Persons with Intellectual Disabilities and, the latter to those with physical challenges. SO Bharat has over 1.5 million Athletes registered across all the States and Union Territories of India.

The SO Bharat Delhi Chapter has approximately 5,000 Athletes with Intellectual Disabilities registered from over 180 schools. 21 Athletes (including one Unified partner) and 2 Coaches would represent Delhi in 11 sports at the Special Olympics World Summer Games to be held in Berlin, Germany.

List of Sports the Delhi Participants are playing in Berlin: 1). Judo 2). Basketball 3). Roller Skating 4). Volleyball 5). Powerlifting 6). Cycling 7). Handball 8). Football 9). Table Tennis 10). Tennis 11). Athletics. (ANI)

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