What you need to know:
- Uganda is expected to field 35 athletes in volleyball, traditional football, table tennis, swimming and athletics.
The long journey to the Berlin 2023 Special Olympics World Games has received a major boost after the German Corporation for International Development (GIZ) funded a six-month training programme for local coaches.
The programme that started last week, will go until the national games in May.
Uganda takes part in the Special Olympics and participates in volleyball, football, table tennis, swimming and athletics, but will not field a women’s team.
The Inclusion Through Sports is a legacy programme by the hosts, Germany, aimed at presenting the challenge of perception to Special Olympics athletes.
Tobias Antoni, the project manager, says it will benefit Uganda and Kosovo, will help unite people with and without intellectual disabilities together.
“We are implementing unified sports workshops to develop capacities of Special Olympics Uganda and Kosovo in regards to unified sports development. We are developing unified sports multipliers by mentoring teachers and coaches on the concept of unified sports,” Antoni said.
The collaborative project will focus on basketball, football and handball.
Genevieve Bamwidhukire, Special Olympics Uganda executive director, explained that this was a good opportunity to reach out to more athletes ahead of the World Games.
Up to 7,000 Special Olympics athletes and unified partners from 170 countries will compete in 24 sports from June 17-25, 2023 in Berlin, Germany.
“World Games have been a challenge especially when it comes to funding and training and this is an opportunity to enable us to train more athletes and give them a chance to get professional expertise from the coaches ahead of the Games,” Bamwidhukire said.
The national games will be held in Gulu on May 30 to help select the athletes that will represent Uganda.
Bamwidhukire is excited at the impact of the Games that have nurtured such athletes as sprinter Jacent Nyamahunge, who is now an elite athlete.
Uganda is expected to field 35 athletes in volleyball, traditional football, table tennis, swimming and athletics.
Special Olympics athletes to 2023 World Games
Volleyball 12 Unified
Football 12 Traditional
Table tennis 2 Male and Female
Swimming 4 Two per gender
Athletics 5 Three female