Charles Rays, SOT Executive Director, issued the comments at the closing of a two-day course for primary schools’ teachers, educational officers for children with special needs and sports officers in Mwanza on Tuesday.
The two-day course was attended by 76 participants and was held at St. Nicholas Anglican Church’s hall in Nyamagana District.
The course geared towards equipping the participants with knowledge on promotion of sports among children with intellectual disabilities ahead of the National Special Olympics Tournament which will be held in the region in June next year.
The championship is expected to be attended by more than 400 Special Olympics athletes and 70 coaches.
It will also be used to select athletes who will represent the country at the second Pan African Games slated for Rwanda in 2022.
The 2022 Pan African Games will be used as qualifiers for the 2023 World Summer Games, which will be hosted by Germany.
Rays stated the course is sponsored by Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) which is geared to see to it that all children with intellectual challenges are taking part in sports.
‘’We want to see children with intellectual problems take part in sporting activities as sports lead to a more welcoming and inclusive society,’’ Rays noted.
‘’We thank Stavros Niarchos Foundation for supporting us, we are of the view that the seminar will help participants have more understanding of Special Olympics and sports.’’
‘’At the seminar we had 40 teachers and 26 special needs educational officers from Nyamagana, Ilemela, Misungwi, Sengerema districts and Mwanza Municipal,” he said.
Rays said after the Mwanza seminar, with funding from SNF, the SOT plans to reach 85 schools in Morogoro, Dar es Salaam, Tanga and Mtwara.
Participants described the seminar as an eye opener. Zacharia Leonard, who heads the special needs education desk at Semi Primary School, and Lilian John from Nyamalango Primary School, said they have learnt a lot at the two-day seminar.
Leonard stated: “Through this seminar, I have learnt how to handle and motivate children with intellectual challenges to enjoy sports.’’
Lilian noted: ‘’I thank the organizers and sponsors as now I know how to combine normal children and children with intellectual disabilities in one sporting activity.”
The SOT last hosted the National Special Olympics Championship in Zanzibar in December, 2017.
Hosts Zanzibar emerged as the champions and 15 athletes were selected to compete at last year's Summer World Games, which took place in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
- has been doing well in Special Olympics Games. In this year's maiden Pan African Special Olympics Games played in Egypt, Tanzania collected 11 medals.
The 11 medals were won by Khalfan Jihad, who won two gold and one bronze, Hidaya Vuai won one gold, one silver and one bronze.
Neverson Minja and Elizabeth Kisaka won one gold and one silver medal apiece, Salama Kheri won one gold medal.
The Egypt Games were attended by over 1000 athletes who competed in athletics, basketball, bocce and football.
Tanzania fielded five players in 200m, 400m races and 4x100m relay race and won six gold medals, three silver medals and two bronze medals.