THE National Special Olympic Championship for both children and adults with intellectual disabilities will be launched at Ruyenzi Stadium in Kamonyi District today.
The Special Olympics Rwanda championship dubbed “Unified National Championship” will be launched with football and athletics games between Special Olympic Teams from Muhanga and Kamonyi.
The National Director of Special Olympics Rwanda, Sheila Ndegeya said the local training and competitions will follow suit in all provinces of which the final games will be in June 21-23.
“From June, the best teams/players will be selected to represent Rwanda in the next Special Olympic World Summer Games in (March) in Abu Dhabi 2019,” she added.
In Rwanda, Special Olympic was founded in 2002 and accredited a year later, to train athletes in a variety of Olympic-type sports for people with intellectual disability.
In 2015, the organization sent 3 athletes to the World Summer Games, in Los Angeles, USA, (4 athletes to 2003 Dublin, Ireland edition and 25 in 2007 edition in Shanghai, China.
Pastor Deus Sangwa, the Special Olympics Rwanda Board Chair has long urged parents to involve children with intellectual disability in sports activities so that they enjoy normal life instead of hiding them in homes.
“Parents should not keep their mentally disabled children at home, instead they should bring them out so that they can discover their hidden talent on top of engaging with other children,” he told the gathering.”
He believes that some of the children with intellectual disability have the talent but the only way it can be discovered and nurtured is through engaging and involving them in sports.
Next year, the plan is to send over 50 athletes for the Adhabi World Special Olympic Summer Games.
The movement to start the Games began in June 1962 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver who saw how unjustly and unfairly people with intellectual disabilities were treated.