Special Olympics on revival drive

HARARE - Special Olympics Zimbabwe (Soz) has embarked on a resurrection drive by lining up a number of activities during the course of the years according to Viola Musariri, Soz’s organising secretary.

Soz, which was formed in 1987, has been lying dormant since 2008 resulting in very little sustainable sports programmes for people with intellectual disabilities taking place.

Special Olympics International subsequently responded by suspending Zimbabwe’s membership.

However after the country’s recent acceptance back into the international family, a new board was set up in February this year.

“We have just come on board, so now we are just rolling out the program. This is our first step,” Musariri said on the side lines of the just ended National Special Olympic Games held on Saturday at Prince Edward School.

The Games attracted seven schools and institutions, Prince Edward School, Vimbainashe Learning Institute, Zambuko, St Mary’s School, Home Fields Centre, La’rche, Sunshine Project.

The athletes participated in games ranging from bocce, volleyball and five-a-side soccer.

“We will be hosting provincial finals later this year in August and national finals in October. Our golf team has been doing well over the years and because of this we received an invitation to send a team for a tournament in Denmark in 2014.

“Three of our board members were recently at a workshop in South Africa to get up to speed with how to execute our mission and these are some of the fruits from that meeting.

“We are targeting athletes from across the country, be they be from institutions or mainstream schools where they have progress classes.

“We have representatives from various provinces who will be coordinating events.

Musariri said the sports programmes were also directed at breaking social barriers associated with people who are intellectually challenged.

“Special Olympics is basically a movement that pits together athletics with intellectual abilities,” she said.

“We are basically bringing together people with disabilities to network, enjoy, share and make sure they is also social inclusion within society with people disability.”  

Having missed out of the out on the last World Special Olympics Games in Greece in 2011, Soz is now priming a team for the Los Angeles Games in 2015.

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