Special Olympics Bharat Launches Developmental Sports


New Delhi, September 24, 2020: Special Olympics Bharat launched Developmental Sports for the young athletes to enable their transition to higher sports participation by learning sport-specific skills. Herbalife Nutrition, the premier global nutrition company, has extended support to the tune of USD 150,000 for two years from April 2020, to expand the programming across the length and breadth of the country.

The virtual launch event on the evening of September  23, witnessed the gracious presence of Ajay Khanna, Vice President & Country Head, Herbalife Nutrition (India), Dipak Natali, President & Managing Director, Special Olympics – Asia Pacific Region; Air Marshal Keelor PVSM, KC, AVSM, VrC, Founder & CEO, SO Bharat and Satish Pillai, Chairman SO Bharat. The event toured the viewers through a progressively deepening association of SO Bharat with Herbalife Nutrition since 2015. The inspiring addresses by the distinguished guests present at the occasion were anchored by the Special Athletes Siddhant Nath, Rithik Hukku and Shrey Kadian, all of whom have represented SO Bharat at different Special Olympics global events. They were paired with their respective Unified Buddies who are the youth leaders without Intellectual Disabilities, a concept aligned with the mission of Special Olympics encouraging engagements between the youth with and without Intellectual Disabilities.

Developmental Sports activities can provide an age-appropriate introduction to sports for children with and without intellectual disabilities, ages 6-12 years. Sports participation helps children develop physically, mentally, and socially and contributes to the development of long-term healthy lifestyles. Special Olympics Young Athletes provides children with a general introduction to the fundamental gross motor movements that will help them become more successful in the sport. While children can participate in Young Athletes through age seven, as children get older, they are often ready for more sport-specific coaching and instruction.

August and September 2020 saw a roll-out of two phases of three webinars each that trained coaches in Basketball, Cricket and Football in the Developmental Sports format. The initiative is being supported by Herbalife Nutrition that stands steadfast in its commitment to Inclusion of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities through sports, regardless of the testing times of COVID-19.

In the words of Ajay Khanna, Vice President/Country Head, Herbalife International India Pvt. Ltd: “Herbalife Nutrition is proud to reach out and change the lives of the Specially-abled children and athletes, with the help of Special Olympics Bharat. Sport is a great equaliser and Special Olympics Bharat has been at the forefront of inspiring not only the sporting talent but also enabling attitudinal change in the communities we live in. The children are blessed with phenomenal determination, and we are happy to be able to give them a platform to shine while sending a very powerful message to the world. That resilience helps overcome all odds. Our relationship with Special Olympics Bharat exemplifies our commitment to Build it Better and we look forward to continuing this deeply meaningful relationship.”

Air Marshal Keelor PVSM, KC, AVSM, VrC, Founder & CEO SO Bharat has this to say: “Herbalife Nutrition is an organisation with a heart and this is so humbly yet passionately demonstrated in all that they say and do. I am overwhelmed to see how this partnership has grown, from supporting multiple events to our participation in landmark global event like the Unified Cup 2018 that was held in Chicago; and now to programme-based support that would establish the athletes on a path of sports excellence. Herbalife, under the stirring leadership of Ajay Khanna, has demonstrated an unwavering determination to develop sports for our athletes and over the years, has shown an understanding and compassion that touches the heart of each and every one of us.”