Kazan, Russia is set to host the Special Olympics World Winter Games in 2022 with a key aim of transforming the lives and prospects of people with intellectual disabilities across the country.
According to the Special Olympics International Board of Directors Kazan was selected to host the competition based on the city’s proven reputation for hosting large international sporting events, support from local, state, and national governments of Russia.
“Hosting the Special Olympics World Winter Games 2022 adds Kazan to an elite group of international cities leading the inclusion charge for people with intellectual disabilities,” said Mary Davis, CEO of Special Olympics.
“The global Special Olympics movement has confidence in Kazan’s ability to host a world-class Games that deliver a lasting impact. Congratulations to Kazan!” She later said
Using the platform of the Games, Special Olympics will seek to transform attitudes about intellectual disabilities in Russia, as well as create new opportunities for social integration for the estimated three million people with intellectual disabilities living in Russia.
Special Olympics Russia has been active for more than two decades and has 128,000 athletes taking part in sport and competition across the country. However, this represents only 4% of the estimated three million people with intellectual disabilities in Russia. One of the key aims of the World Winter Games will be to grow athlete numbers to 200,000 and expand into all 85 regions of Russia by 2025.
“We are thrilled to host the Special Olympics World Winter Games 2022,” said Olga Slutsker, President of Special Olympics Russia.
“Hosting this prestigious and deeply significant event gives us the opportunity to show Russia and the world that people with intellectual disabilities are capable of competing at the highest levels of sport. It will demonstrate the power of our movement not only as a sports organization but also as a leader in the drive towards a truly inclusive world.” She concluded
Founded in 1968, Special Olympics is a global movement to end discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities. With more than six million athletes and Unified Sports partners in over 190 countries and territories and more than one million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics delivers more than 30 Olympic-type sports and over 100,000 games and competitions every year.
By Leroy Hawkson|Talksafrica.com