Orapa dominates Special Olympics soccer tournament
by Sunday Standard Reporter
The Orapa, Letlhakane and Damtshaa Mines (OLDM) Special Olympics team dominated the Unified Football for Hope tournament, which was hosted by the mining town this past weekend.
The tournament saw nine teams lock horns to secure themselves a place at the upcoming World Cup Confederations qualifiers to be held in Rustenburg, South Africa, from October 3rd – 7th, 2012.
The feisty OLDM team beat all their competitors to emerge qualifiers for the next round.
Mogoditshane’s Solomon Dihutso Primary School came second with Thuto Boswa Rehabilitation Centre in Ramotswa attaining third position. The only female team that participated at the games, Aerodrome from Francistown, automatically qualified to represent the country at the next level.
Of interest about the tournament (7-aside football) is that it uses athletes with disability and those without disability in a single team, the objective being to ensure utmost community involvement in special Olympics activities, a vision that the world football body, FIFA vehemently runs and was introduced in 2006 as a lead up to the 2010 World Cup.
The teams have started preparations for the Rustenburg Games, which will be qualifying games for the World Cup Confederations Cup to be held in Brazil in 2013.
In 2011 Orapa swimming teams represented the country at the Special Olympics Summer Games bringing 3 Gold medals. The mining town’s girls’ soccer team carried the Botswana flag high at the 2007 Special Olympics Summer Games in Shanghai, China were they got 4th position at their international debut games. According to Tebogo Ditlhokwa, the National Sports Director – Special Olympics, who is also the Orapa Team coach, it is dedication, perseverance and patriotism that continue to inspire him and his teams to aim higher and deliver exceptional results.
He further commended Debswana for the continued support and commitment it has towards people with intellectual disability and sports in general. OLDM has a special education class at one of its Primary Schools. The mines sponsored the just ended tournament with more than P28, 000. “Education and Sports Development are fundamental aspects of our Corporate Social Investment (CSI) programme; hence we will always find meaningful ways to positively and sustainably contribute to these focus areas as well as others outlined in our CSI policy. Debswana as a whole continues to make remarkable contribution to sports development in Botswana and our partnership with the Botswana Special Olympics Committee at the just ended tournament was just a continuation of our effort in that regard” said the mines Public and Corporate Affairs Manager, Mrs Kesego Okie.