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AIFF Futsal invites Special Athletes to kick-start inclusion in sports

New Delhi, Feb 18 (IANS) In all 20 athletes from Special Olympics Bharat will combine with players of the All India Football Federation (AIFF), for the second edition of the AIFF Hero Futsal Club Championship 2022-23, adding a new perspective to the event to be held at the KD Jadhav Indoor Hall, Indira Gandhi Stadium Complex, here.

Before the competition, a coaches’ training oriented about 30 participants with Special Olympics Unified Sports and inclusion of the athletes with Intellectual Disabilities in the sports field and beyond.

The Unified Futsal Championship (7-a-side) was played for over an hour between teams that combined players with and without Intellectual Disabilities.

Victor Hermans, FIFA Technical Consultant & legendary Futsal player, graced the event alongside several distinguished guests

In the words of Savio Medeira, Director, Coach Education: “we are also looking at Unified Football as a topic to be included in our official AIFF E Certificate Coaching Course in the immediate future.

“The E Certificate is our entry-level coaching course which focuses on Life Skills and Human Values along with introducing the basics of Football Coaching to first-timers and is undertaken by thousands of coaches every year on a pan-India level,” he was quoted as saying in a release.

In the words of M.M Khurram, Unified Sports Coach, SO Bharat: “Collaboration with AIFF would be a giant leap towards spreading awareness and inclusion through sports at the grassroots level.”

“People often understand Special Olympics to be a sports program for persons with Intellectual Disability only, but being a global inclusion movement we invite the players without intellectual disability to join our athletes in the sports field and through this engagement, we feel that we can nurture a culture of positivity and build communities of acceptance,” he said.

Team sports bring people together. Special Olympics Unified Sports® teams do that, too and much more. About 1.4 million people worldwide take part in Unified Sports, breaking down stereotypes about people with intellectual disabilities in a really fun way.

Special Olympics is dedicated to promoting social inclusion through shared sports training and competition experiences. Unified Sports joins people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team. It was inspired by a simple principle: training together and playing together is a quick path to friendship and understanding.



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