Special Olympics athletes head for Pan African Games

17Jan 2020
Joseph Mchekadona
The Guardian
Special Olympics athletes head for Pan African Games

TANZANIA’s Special Olympics athletes are expected to leave for Egypt on Wednesday next week where they will compete at the first Pan African Games set for January 23-31 in Cairo, Egypt.

Children with intellectual disabilities feature in fitness training in Dar es Salaam recently.

The team’s coach, Charles Rays, who also doubles as Tanzania Special Olympics administrator, said the country is expected to send five athletes and three officials to the event.

He noted the national Special Olympics governing body has, so far, managed to secure two air tickets for athletes and one for the leader of delegation.

Rays asked the corporate world, organizations and individuals to help the committee so that it can realize its dream of sending many athletes to the event.

He thanked Azam FC official, Abdulkarim Nurdin, who is popularly known as ‘Popat’, for his willingness to travel with the Special Olympics team as leader of delegation on his expenses and some committee members who have donated the tickets to the two athletes.

Rays, who is part the contingent heading for the competition, mentioned the players and officials who are earmarked for the event as Khalfan Jihadi, Elizabeth Kisaka , Nerverson Minja , Salma Idrissa and Idaya Vyai while Saada Hamad is the team matron.

He disclosed that the committee will today receive air tickets for Elizabeth Kisaka and Nerveson Minja.

“The initial plan was to send 26 athletes from athletics and football disciplines to the event, but due to financial problems we will only send five athletes and as I’m speaking to you we have secured three air tickets, two for athletes and one official and currently we are asking well-wishers to help us so that we can send the team to the event,” Rays disclosed.

“Abdulkarim ‘Popat’ will travel with the team as leader of delegation, he has paid for his accommodation and air ticket,” he said.

The first-ever Special Olympics Pan African Games will be held in Egypt under the auspices of the Egyptian President, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, the Chairperson of the African Union.

More than 1,000 volunteers and 100,000 spectators will join together in selected venues in Cairo to celebrate the accomplishments of over 1,000 athletes from 47 Special Olympics Countries around the African Continent.

The Games encompass a series of sports and non-sports events. Participating sportsmen and women will compete in football, basketball and bocce, alongside a range of activities like medical camps.

Tanzania Special Olympics Committee, through work in sports, health, education and community building, is addressing inactivity, injustice, intolerance and social isolation facing children and adults with  intellectual disabilities and physical disabilities..

The body is fulfilling its activities by encouraging and empowering people with intellectual disabilities, leading to a more welcoming and inclusive society.

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