The countdown to the Special Olympics International Football Championship (SOIFC) to be held in Chennai kicked off in the city recently. It was heart touching as it had a couple of ‘Special Indian athletes’ from the Abu Dhabi World Games sharing the dais along with the top guests. They were also felicitated for doing the city proud with their medal winning shows.
The championship, which is making its way to India for the first time, is jointly organised by Special Olympics Bharat, Special Olympics Asia Pacific, Lions Club International District 324 A6 and the Youth Development Consortium.
With a little over 70 days to go for this big time event, the organising committee is going all out create awareness across the country, particularly in Tamil Nadu, to bring in the crowd.
It is such events that needs to be encouraged and supported. The fans throng the stadiums in large numbers to watch their favourite footballers in action during the I-League and the Indian Super League (ISL) matches. But this championship promises to offer something different from these `Special stars'.
Lots of activities are being planned to promote the the championship across the State next month. "We are trying to cover every other district, including Coimbatore, and spread the importance of this championship, which is an initiative of the Special Olympics, an international organisation that serves athletes with intellectual disabilities.
It's a five-a-side football affair and the country will field two men and one women's team. "We will have nearly 25 countries taking part and it's going to be a lot interesting. All of you must certainly come to see them perform. In fact, you will be awestruck by the efforts of these `Special athletes', said M.S. Nagaraj, Senior Sports Manager of Special Olympics Asia Pacific.
Multiple national racing champion Arjun Narendran from Coimbatore, who was as the chief guest, lauded the efforts of the parents of these Special athletes in shaping their careers and promised to extend his support in making this championship, for which Evoke Media is the hosting partner, a grand success.