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Training camp for Special Olympics World Summer Games to be held in Delhi, Covid time was really tough: Mallika Nadda

IANS | March 17, 2023 03:57 PM

NEW DELHI: The 15-day training camp for the 2023 Special Olympics World Summer Games, scheduled to take place in Berlin, Germany in June, will be held in Delhi, the chairperson of the Special Olympics Bharat, Dr Mallika Nadda confirmed.

The biennial event, scheduled from June 17- 25 in Berlin, will welcome 7, 000 Special Olympics athletes and Unified partners from approximately 170 countries to compete across 26 sports.

The athletes will be supported by more than 3, 000 coaches and 20, 000 volunteers. India is preparing 202 athletes and partners and 59 coaches to participate in 15 sports.

"We have a World Games for Berlin which is in June, so we will have our last training camp before it in Delhi, so all our athletes will be in Delhi for 15 days. More than 200 athletes are participating in the World Summer Games which will be in Berlin from June 17-25, " Dr Nadda said.

"We have quizabled completion, it is a quiz for the specially-abled with the Unified partners, " she added.

Dr Nadda, wife of national president of the Bharatiya Janata Party, JP Nadda, stated that her husband is quite supportive of the Special Olympics Bharat mission and is always there for moral support.

"Nadda ji is very sensitive about our issue, he has been very supportive. Not only moral support, but he also gives his ideas and views. He is always there whenever we need him, " she said.

In January 2023, Kazan, Russia was to host more than 2, 000 athletes from over 100 nations at the Special Olympics World Winter Games, where 49 Athletes and 15 Coaches from SO Bharat were preparing to participate in six out of the seven sports namely, Alpine Skiing, Figure Skating, Speed Skating, Snowboarding, SnowShoeing and Floorball.

Unfortunately, the games got cancelled after the extensive sanctions implemented by the international community due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

In preparation for the Kazan World Games, Camps were underway, preparing the Athletes and Coaches.

"We organised a winter camp in Narkanda which is near Shimla and I'm very pleased to acknowledge that we took a lead to train the children in snow events. Initially, our athletes used to go for the world winter Games and they would participate in floor Hockey but now we could train our athletes in snow events like snowboarding and we are happy to tell you that our athletes are doing wonders.

They can be trained if we have the right intention to train them. So, in Narkanda there were about 200 hundred participants from 12 States of India, which was the selection and trial camp for the World Winter Games which will be happening after 2 years, " she said.

The SO Bharat chairperson also elaborated more on the Special Olympics and added that there are various challenges to be faced while preparing athletes for international events.

"Special Olympics as we all know is a sports federation, which is working for specially-abled children. It is for intellectually challenged children, Paralympics deals with the physically challenged, while special Olympics deals with the intellectually challenged.

"Training them is more difficult, there are various challenges which we face day in and day out for example while taking them to other places and also while preparing them for international events.

"Special athletes need a lot of attention and a lot of training, and we need to understand they have a lot of talent. They have the zeal to do something and after assessing their ability, we can train them and then they can be champions, " said Dr. Nadda.

Highlighting the challenges that occurred during the tough time of the Covid-19 pandemic, she said: "Covid time was really tough for each and every one of us and it was tougher for the special children who had to stay within the campus under the lockdown.

"So, it was really difficult to handle the children at that moment but their families were the strongest support system who managed the children. We also organised virtual games, at that time Special Olympics were the only organisation that conducted 800 virtual programmes for parents and athletes.

"I've been associated with the Special Olympics for the past 25 years, so we have been organising many activities. Everything is a team work, one person cannot take all the tasks, it is all a teamwork.

"With this whole team we take our program ahead, so there is no burden on me. We keep trying new things, recently we tried that all our athletes should travel by air to the destination of the National Games, " Dr. Nadda concluded.

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