Special Olympics South Africa today officially launched the “Road to Berlin”.
On the 12th June the 2023 Special Olympics South Africa National Team will depart for Berlin, Germany to compete at the 2023 Special Olympics World Summer Games.
Our 2023 National Team, chosen at the Special Olympics South Africa National Games in Polokwane, will be competing against 7000 athletes from 190 countries in what is being hailed as the world’s largest inclusive sporting event.
They will be hoping to replicate the incredible successes of our 2019 South Africa National that returned victorious from the 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games in the United Arab Emirates with 35 Gold, 15 Silver and 12 Bronze medals!
Dr Mathews Phosa, Chairperson of Special Olympics South Africa noted; “The athletes of Special Olympics South Africa are the biggest medal winners in this country and yet they always receive the least support. It is time that we change that narrative not just in terms of the funding but also in terms of the recognition they receive after successfully representing our country. Their achievements are not less because of their disability, they are, in fact, far, far greater! Special Olympics South Africa will once again be relying on corporates and the public at large to “Adopt an Athlete”.
“The costs for each athlete to attend the World Games comes to about R 40 000 per athlete” said Ms Ancilla Smith, the CEO of Special Olympics South Africa; “the majority of our athletes come from impoverished circumstances and we make sure that we are able to provide everything that they need to be able to represent our country with pride. We provide everything from toiletries and underwear to their official playing kit and equipment”.
The “Adopt an Athlete” campaign has been successful in raising the necessary funds for the past three World Games and the organisation is hoping that this year is no different.
Smith continued; “The athletes of Special Olympics South Africa continue to prove that when given the opportunity they can, and will, succeed. They cannot however do it without support. In previous years our National Team has relied on the public, corporate and the National Lotteries Commission to make their dreams of representing our country a reality. This year again we will be calling upon all sectors of our society to help us get these athletes up onto the winners podiums in Berlin where they belong”.
For individuals or companies who are unable to cover the full costs of an athlete’s participation but who would still like to contribute Special Olympics has created a Back a Buddy campaign.
The Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023 will be broadcasting to hundreds of millions of viewers worldwide, showcasing athletic performance and highlighting stereotype-defying stories – changing minds and opening hearts through transformational inclusion.
The Special Olympics World Games act as a catalyst for inclusion building a lasting legacy of improved health, education, and opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities worldwide.