Kazan, February 3, 2021: The Special Olympics Russia Winter Invitational Games have started in Kazan. The competition will last from 3rd to 8th February and will become a test stage ahead of the Special Olympics World Winter Games 2022: it will show Kazan's readiness for the upcoming international event.
600 athletes with intellectual disabilities from 36 Russian federal districts will compete at the Games. 210 sports judges and 490 volunteers will also join them. Athletes with intellectual disabilities will compete in six sports: snowshoeing, alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, figure skating and short track speed skating, which are consistent with the Special Olympics World Winter Games 2020. The competitions will be held at four different sports venues: Burevestnik, Lokomotiv, Sviyaga Hills, and the Sports Palace. Accommodation for the participants will be the Universiade Village and the student campus of the Innopolis University.
In addition to the key task of promoting the idea of an inclusive society and uniting people with intellectual disabilities through sports, invitational games will also become a platform for selecting athletes of the Russian national team for the Special Olympic Winter Games 2022.
Olga Slutsker, President of Russian Special Olympics, said: “Every person, regardless of their characteristics, has the right to be better and fight for victory. Equality and unity are true sport values. We are very glad that we managed to gather so many special athletes in one place, each of them is actually already a winner - over himself and the circumstances.”
The Games will help to check how ready Kazan is to host international competitions for special athletes in 2022.
Rustam Minnikhanov, President of the Republic of Tatarstan: “Considered the sports capital of Russia, Kazan has a deep sports heritage and the city’s sports facilities, infrastructure, and established volunteer base have hosted many world-class sports competitions. We’re ready to hold the Special Olympics games at the highest level”.
Andy Buckingham, General Manager of Coca-Cola Russia: “At the international level, Coca-Cola is a founding partner and sponsor of the Special Olympics, and we are very proud of our 53-year relationship. I’m glad to announce that Coca-Cola will provide more than 22,000 litres of drinks to support the athletes, coaches and guests of the event. The Special Olympics movement includes more than 5.7 million athletes with special needs. Together we help to build an inclusive society by supporting young people with special needs and providing the opportunities to fulfill their potential”.
For preventing the spread of coronavirus infection, Special Olympics Russia Winter Invitational Games will be carried out strictly in accordance with the requirements of Rospotrebnadzor, the Ministry of Sport of the Russian Federation and the Government of the Republic of Tatarstan, as well as the recommendations of Special Olympics International. In this regard, no cultural events including Games opening and closing ceremonies are provided.
About Special Olympics
Founded in 1968, Special Olympics is a global movement to end discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities. We foster acceptance of all people through the power of sport and programming in education, health, and leadership. With more than six million athletes and Unified Sports partners in over 190 countries and territories and more than one million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics delivers more than 30 Olympic-type sports and over 100,000 games and competitions every year.
The Special Olympics World Games are held every two years, alternating between summer and winter, and are broadcast worldwide by ESPN, the Special Olympic Movement's official television and radio broadcasting partner. The previous World Winter Games were held in 2017 in Austria.
Learn more: Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn and blog on Medium. More information on www.SpecialOlympics.org.
About Special Olympics Russia
Special Olympics Russia was founded in 1999 and is one of the largest national programs in the global Special Olympics movement. In Russia, around 130,000 people with intellectual disabilities are involved in physical education and about 5,000 physical culture events of the municipal, regional and all Russian levels are held annually under the Special Olympics Russia program. Currently there are Special Olympics regional offices in 62 regions of Russia. Russian athletes with intellectual disabilities take part in international tournaments annually in the Special Olympics Russia program with athletes occupying various leadership positions.
Special Olympics provides sports training throughout the year in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Training of future Special Olympics participants has already started around Russia. Russian athletes with intellectual disabilities can join a team in their region on the website: https://specialolympics.ru/programs.