Athletes of Special Olympics Nigeria are set to depart the shores of the country to join other participating contestants from around the world at the World Summer Games which will hold in Abu Dhabi, UAE from the 14th to 21st of March 2019. At a well-attended farewell reception held in their honour, the team was charged to excel in whichever games they were participating in.
The team will participate in 8 Olympic-type sports namely; Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Football, Table Tennis, Volleyball, Swimming and Cycling. It would be recalled that the team made the organization proud in the last World Games held in 2017 at Austria where 22 athletes who represented Team Nigeria returned home with 12 Gold and 10 Silver medals.
In a speech delivered by a board member, Charles Akindayomi, representing the Chairman of the board of Special Olympics Nigeria, Victor Gbolade Osibodu expressed confidence in the ability of the team to do well at the games and return victorious as they have undergone 9 months of intensive training and preparation.
“Team Special Olympics Nigeria will be represented by an 84-man delegate consisting of 60 Special Olympics Nigeria Athletes and 24 officials which includes coaches, caregivers and medical personnel who will assist them in the travel and competition” he stated.
He thanked sponsors including, Union Bank, Caverton Offshore Support Group, Vigeo Holding Limited, Central Securities Clearing System Plc, Philips Consulting, Globacom, Sterling Bank, Lagos State Internal Revenue Service, Soulcomms, AXA Mansard and so many others for supporting the athletes and making their participation in the winter games in Abu Dhabi a reality.
This Games mark the culmination of the 50th anniversary celebrations of Special Olympics, and the beginning of the next fifty years of the inclusion movement.
The 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games is one of the largest sports and humanitarian event in the world and it is expected to bring together 7,000 athletes, 3,000 coaches, 1,500 officials, 20,000 volunteers, 3,000 honored guests, 6,000 family members.