President George Weah of Liberia has challenged world leaders, especially those in Africa to initiate pragmatic measures to invest in children with intellectual disabilities as a way of nurturing their potentials in sports more meaningfully.
He said supporting such children to nurture and develop their potentials in sports would not only boost their confidence in life, but would reduce the stigma attached to them and enhance their integration into society
Addressing participants, delegates and officials who attended the just ended Abu Dhabi 2019 Special Olympics World Games at the Zayed Sports stadium in Abu Dhabi, President Weah commended the government of the United Arab Emirates for accepting to host the game for the first time in the UAE.
He said bringing children with intellectual disabilities from more than 190 countries to participate in various sports disciplines was worthwhile and showed the commitment of the UAE government to support such children to be part of society.
" I am delighted to be part of this event because it has brought me memories of the place where I ended my career as a professional footballer"
" I am happy that in spite of their disabilities they are committed to competing with each other to prove their worth in society.
That explains why I am appealing to world leaders, especially those in Africa, to invest more meaningfully in such children to enable them to develop their potentials in sports "
The 2019 Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi coincided with the 50th anniversary celebrations of the games which was established in the United States of America.
Special Olympics Ghana presented 16 athletes, who participated in two disciplines - football and athletics.
The football team reached the medal zone but failed to win the bronze at stake when they lost 1-2 to Thailand, but two of the athletes clinched an historic two gold medals for Ghana
While Joseph Tettey Amertowosi of Gbi-Kledjo Special School of Intellectual disabilities in Hohoe won gold in the 100 meters event with a time of 13:13 seconds, Hannah Dantako of Twin City Special School of Intellectual Disabilities in Sekondi Takoradi won the 200 meters event with a time of 29:59 seconds
During the 2015 Special Olympics World Games held in Los Angeles, Ghana presented four athletes and brought home four silver medals in the 100 and 200 meters events