Having fun, developing skills and building self-esteem, all while participating in year-round sports training and competition is the life of a Special Olympics athlete. Whatever their age or skill level, with 30 sports to choose from, Special Olympics has something for every person with an intellectual disability’ said Paul Devasagayam, the Area Director, SOB-TN Paul Devasagayam while delivering the inaugural address of registration of parents of the intellectually challenged children for sports meets in Block level and district and State level to be held through the year. ‘Special Olympics Bhart (SOB) believes that consistent training is indispensable to the Development of an individual’s sports skills SOB spreads the message of love for these mentally challenged children. SOB believes that, given proper environment for their manifestation, these mentally challenged children too can develop their inherent potentialities and be included into the mainstream of the society. Special Olympics is founded on the belief that people with intellectually disabilities can with proper instructions and encouragement, learn, enjoy and benefit from participation in Individual and team Sports’ added by the Area Director, SOB-TN Paul Devasagayam He expressed his happiness that around 500 parents with their intellectually challenged children have shown interest in the registration of their children for the sports events under Special Olympic Bharat, Tamilnadu. Paul Devasagayam further said that Special Olympics Bharat programme has so far drawn over 36000 coaches to work with over 655234 athletes across 32 State Programs. India being designated a Priority Nation by Special Olympics International, the goal is to extend the Special Olympics programme throughout the country and reach over 1,000,000 people with Intellectual Disability by end 2012. Too often it’s so easy to forget how hard it is to raise awareness about Special Olympics. In places like India, and many others, it’s critical to raise awareness about the positive impact our athletes can make in their society’.Dr.K.Govindaraju, Special Olympic Bharath –TN, Trichy Chairperson in his presidential address said ‘although the intellectually challenged children develop slowly than normal ones, but they can be trained in specific sports skills. Their sports skills may reflect the interests of their chronological age. An adolescent in this category is interested in sports events especially boys like to portray sports, daring deeds and mechanical objects. In general, the retarded child cannot cope with complex tasks but can happily participate in sports similar to those of his peers. Special children's sports follow a sequential pattern of growth and development. One must not only be fearless of his environment, but the environment itself must also be warm, encouraging — and inviting’. Being mentally challenged usually prevents people from achieving a normal level of independence in life, but those who are around mentally challenged people can introduce activities that can help the person's cognitive intelligence and motor skills. It might be a severe challenge for a caregiver to help a mentally challenged person enjoy games and sports activities, but with love and patience, it's possible’. ; Games that promote social interaction should be a goal when choosing games for the mentally challenged. They can join in races such as a sack race or an obstacle race. They can also participate basketball, soccer, football and running race. Being mentally challenged does not mean that a person cannot participate in sports activities. They have shown that they can excel in such physical games as they are trainable; For people with intellectual disabilities, Special Olympics is often the only place where they have an opportunity to participate in their communities and develop belief in themselves. Many live in isolation, hidden away or socially excluded from full participation in schools or society. For athletes Special Olympics sports provide a gateway to empowerment, competence, acceptance and joy, Dr.K.Govindaraju concluded.
The guest of honour Prof.S.Sathiyaseelan appreciated the good work done by the special Olympic, Bharath over the years and he said that he was impressed by the good work done by Paul Devasagayam for the intellectually challenged children and the confidence and training ability of him for the parents and their intellectually challenged kids. Though ability level varies, everyone is welcome, and all grow, building athletic skills and character traits that help both on and off the field of competition. Confidence, self-esteem, teamwork are just some of the benefits of involvement in sports. For many athletes, Special Olympics is a path to empowerment, competence, acceptance, joy and friendship. Prof.S.Sathiyaseelan further said that Chairman of Trichy unit of Special Olympics, TN Dr.K.Govindaraju is very sportive helping the needy and disadvantaged. He also appreciated the gesture of South Zone Board of Continuing Education for honouring Paul Devasagayam with ‘OZONE ABILITY AWARD’ which carries a cash award of Rs.3000.Earlier Prof.S.Sathiyaseelan handed over the award to Paul Devasagayam and also cash support to two boys selected for the participation in Special Olympics in June 2011’.
Earlier 512 intellectual children with their parents registered them for the sports training in Trichy for them for the forthcoming years. A colourful event children marching to the venue with colourful balloons with their parents were very impressive and they had community lunch and around 1200 parents, intellectually challenged kids with special educators took part in community lunch. Earlier Xyian Stephen welcomed the gathering and Percy Lal proposed vote of Thanks.Dr.R.Theivakuamar and special educators made elaborate arrangements for registration, program and community lunch: Etram News Service