ACP Augustine Kokukokor:Our intellectually disabled athletes will return with gold medals

Author: George Ernest Asare
HE Khalifa Yousif Al Zaabi (in white) pose with the SOG Board and the athletes during the visit

The chairman of the Board of Directors of Special Olympics Ghana (SOG) ACP Augustine Kokukokor (retd) has assured that the intellectually disabled athletes who will participate in the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi between  March 14 to 22, 2019 will return home with gold medals.

“Ghana will participate in the 100m, 200m and 400m events, as well as the seven-a-side football tournament, and considering our preparations so far, we are certain to return home with gold medals,” ACP Kokukokor assured when the Board, together with the athletes paid a courtesy call on the  United Arab Emirates (UAE) Ambassador to Ghana, His Excellency Khalifa Yousif Al Zaabi on Monday March 5, 2019.

The courtesy call afforded  opportunity for the team to have fruitful interactions with Khalifa Al Zaabi and also seek his blessing  before flying to Abu Dhabi to participate in the Special Olympics World Games.

He said the SOG had always relied on the benevolence of society to prepare the intellectually disabled athletes to fully participate in the Special Olympics World Games.

He therefore called on corporate Ghana to support the team in diverse ways to motivate the athletes to excel

Beside assuring the team that he would personally engage his daughter in Abu Dhabi and the Ghana Ambassador to the UAE to provide the needs of Team Ghana to enable them to excel in the tournament, Khalifa Al Zaabi also made a personal donation of $6000 to the team.

“I am very happy that intellectually disabled athletes from Ghana are participating in such a prestigious tournament. You called on me very late so I can offer you only $6,000 as my personal contribution to motivate our athletes to win gold in Abu Dhabi”, he noted at the reception.

He commended the SOG for using sports to integrate intellectually disabled athletes into society and urged them to sustain the relationship for their mutual benefit.

A total of 7,000 intellectually disabled athletes from over 170 countries will converge on the oil-rich city to compete for honours during the tournament.

 About 3,000 coaches, and an estimated 1,500 officials and 3,000 special guests, as well as 500,000 spectators, are expected to fly to Abu Dhabi to cheer the intellectually challenged athletes as they rub shoulders with their peers for honours in 24 different sports disciplines.

Among the sports disciplines designed to create a healthy competition are athletics, football, beach volleyball, judo, powerlifting, tennis, table tennis and swimming.

Others events are badminton, gymnastics, volleyball, handball, basketball, sailing, cycling, golf and bowling.