A total of 16 intellectually disabled athletes , Board members of Special Olympics Ghana (SOG) and four coaches on Thursday February 7, flew to Abu Dhabi with the sole ambition of winning gold medals in the seven-a-side football and athletics competitions at the 2019 Special Olympics World Games scheduled between March 14 and 22, 2019.
Team Ghana , led by the Vice Chairman of SOG, Nana Wereko-Ampim Opoku will join 7,000 athletes from over 170 countries worldwide to compete for honours at the Games.
A total of 3,000 coaches, 1,500 officials and 3,000 special guests will also be part of the Abu Dhabi Special Olympics Summer Games, described as “the largest sports humanitarian event in the world”.
It coincides with the 50th anniversary celebration of Special Olympics International, which was formed in 1968 to create a new world of inclusions.
The disciplines include athletics, football, beach volleyball, judo, power-lifting, tennis, table tennis and swimming. Others are badminton, gymnastics, volleyball, handball, basketball, sailing, cycling, golf and bowling.
Speaking to Graphic Sports Online before their departure, the head coach of Team Ghana, Ms Belinda Bukari, said with the preparations made since July last year, she was optimistic of an excellent performance.
“So far, the preparation has been very good because the athletes have trained in agility, balance and speed. The four athletes who will be competing in the track events have been performing very well and also observing the rules of the games,” she stated.
According to Ms Bukari, the performance of the current team is far better than those who won silver at the Los Angeles Games in 2015.