Special Olympics Philippines (SOP) sent a 54-man delegation on Tuesday to Los Angeles, California to compete in the Special Olympics World Summer Games, the biggest sports event for persons with intellectual disabilities.
SOP National Executive Director Kaye Chastine Samson said the group, ages 14 and up to mid 30s, will be competing in seven sports among them power lifting, athletics, aquatics, bowling, unified 5-a-side football, and rhythmic gymnastics.
About 10,000 athletes and coaches from 177 Special Olympics Programs around the world will be joining the nine-day competition featuring 25 sports event, according to Samson.
“As much as possible, we give everybody a chance to join the world games. But before we send them, they go through local games, national games then they qualified for world games,” Samson added.
The airfares of players from La Union, Iloilo and Cebu were funded by local governments and Department of Education as well as the Philippine Sports Committee. The rest, she said, relied mainly on individual sponsorship. The hosts according to Samson provided their hotel accomodation in Los Angeles.
The delegation is composed 35 athletes, 10 coaches, two officials, three assistant staff, three youth delegates and a chaperone.
Samson said that the world games aims to provide the stage that will create awareness leading to acceptance and inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities.