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June 7, 2011

Strong Pakistan contingent to feature in Special Olympics


Web Desk
June 7, 2011

KARACHI: A strong 90-member contingent of Pakistan will feature in the Special Olympics World Summer Games 2011 pencilled in for June 24 to July 4 in Athens.
In the extravaganza, which is being staged for the mentally-retarded athletes from across the world, Pakistan will feature in eight disciplines including swimming, athletics, badminton, basketball, bocce, cycling, football and table tennis.
Camps of these sports disciplines are in full swing in different cities and the athletes will fly out for Athens on June 20, Regional Director Special Olympics Pakistan, Mrs Shahida Haider told ‘The News’ here on Monday in an interview.
Training camps of football, basketball and cycling are in progress here at the KPT Benazir Sports Complex, the camp for the bocce game is in operation here at the Hockey Club of Pakistan (HCP) while players of table tennis, athletics and badminton are undergoing training at the Pakistan Sports Complex in Islamabad.
In football, Pakistan will take part in the seven-a-side format. As per rules, six players in the team must be special while four should be normal but the playing ability of the four normal players should not exceed the special ones. Special Olympics Pakistan, which was founded in 1989, is supporting the whole programme.
“Special Olympics Pakistan which is working as an NGO is handling the whole process through its own resources which it generates for the purpose. We don’t have any government support. But it’s good sign that not only the playing facilities of the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) and the KPT are at our disposal but our athletes are also being provided with an accommodation and food facilities as well by these centres where they are undergoing training,” Shahida said.
“We have players from different parts of the country including Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Balochistan, Gilgit Baltistan, Muzzafarabad and Mangla etc. We have picked the athletes according to our special procedure. After

conduction of different slots at the Inter-School and at the cities level, we then hold national championships and the gold medalists or the superior lot is then picked for the international assignments and we have done the same for picking male and female players for the Special Olympics World Summer Games as well,” Mrs Haider explained.
Around 75,000 athletes from 180 countries of the world will show their worth in the spectacle which is the worldís largest sporting event of the year. The athletes will compete in 22 Olympic-style sports.

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