Special Olympics Bharat athletes run Delhi half marathon, foster inclusivity
Fifty Special Olympics athletes from Delhi NCR ran a 2.5 km Delhi Half Marathon on Sunday (October 16) to spread awareness about the Special Olympics World Summer Games to be held in Berlin in June 2023.
The Special Olympics Bharat athletes were not just showcasing their positive energy and determination to win in the global sporting event, they were also spreading the power of sports. The people participating in the Champions with Disability and Senior Citizen Run categories proved that ‘inclusivity’ was at the centre of this event. Athletes with intellectual disabilities too joined nearly 25,000+ runners from across the world at this Special Olympics Marathon Delhi at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Sunday morning.
Flagging off the Champions with Disability run at 7:25 am, the Special Olympics Bharat chairperson, Mallika Nadda said, “The Champions with Disability is a great initiative started by the Vedanta Delhi Half Marathon. It provides people with disabilities a chance to be competitive and have a broader running experience, which is the ultimate goal.”
Further, Nadda added that the Olympics Marathon Delhi 2022 also ensures that they enjoy and feel welcome while participating in any sport. “The time has come for us to change the perception of people to recognise and acknowledge the abilities of different people, thereby giving them a meaningful game experience,” pointed out Nadda.
The spirit of inclusion at the Special Olympics Marathon was most visible during the Great Delhi Run, which was flagged off at 9.10 am. Thousands of participants were running for causes they believed in and wanted to support. The runners were filled with the #RangDeDilli spirit and this Olympics Marathon Delhi 2022 also drove home the power of sport to lower barriers and promote solidarity.
Meanwhile, Special Olympics India athlete and board member Siddhant Nath, who led the team, observed that he felt very proud as he led the SO India team holding the SO India banner. “We definitely want to be a part of such mega-events,” he stressed, adding that this can help them to connect with people from different backgrounds. People can get familiar about them and this can lead to “truly inclusive moments”.
About 200 athletes and 60 coaches from Special Olympics India will participate in 14 sports at the Special Olympics World Summer Games to be held in Berlin from June 17-23, 2023. About 7,000 Special Olympics athletes from around 170 countries and unified partners will participate in this mega event across 24 sports.
Since 1987, 1,266 athletes have participated in the Special Olympics World Games and have won 1,499 medals. The Olympics Marathon Delhi run was an opportunity to spread the power of sports, publicise their cause and get the public to view them as individuals who are valuable to society.