New Delhi: Twenty special athletes (with intellectual disability) were joined by 20 unified partners (without intellectual disability) in basketball and football at the Tagore International School Vasant Vihar, New Delhi. With an overall attendance of approx. 100 persons, the event was graced by the distinguished guests including Air Cmde Sharma, Executive Director, SO Bharat and Dr Parul Tyagi, Principal and Uma Chopra, the School Coordinator (SO Bharat), Tagore international School Vasant Vihar Delhi.
In a joint statement, Dr Tyagi and Uma Chopra said, “Earlier even we were not aware of the sporting talent that the special athletes can exhibit, if trained with care. Until you don’t engage you are not aware of the differences. We have around 2000 students, which means 2000 families approx. A school therefore constitutes a big part of society. For the past five years, we have been associated with SO Bharat and we are glad that our students have got a chance to get sensitised and to play more.”
Commenting on the event, Air Cmde Sharma said, “Special Olympics endeavours to promote the inclusion of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities through the platforms of sports, health and schools, colleges and universities. The aim is to build a culture of Inclusion. If all schools embrace unified sports and allow the youth to lead inclusively, we are sure to see more development and positivity around us. Tagore International School Vasant Vihar, has showcased itself as a model for all other schools.”
Unified Sports was a culmination of the three-day Project Coordinator workshop held in New Delhi that witnessed Special Olympics Bharat representatives from eight States of India. The objective of the workshop was to ideate with the officials the diverse spaces and levels where the youth, with and without intellectual disability could be engaged in leadership roles. The States are carrying out a three-year project that would enable the States to reach out to schools, colleges and universities introducing Special Olympics while offering several opportunities of the youth to engage inclusively on and beyond the sports field.
While the workshop was held at the Hotel Royal Plaza Connaught Place New Delhi, encouraging discussions on concepts and the envisioned impact between the States, the last day bound the participants and more stakeholders in a unified sports experience that forms an integral part of the Special Olympics strategy.