The annual Special Olympic National games are expected to be better and different from the previous games. The 29th edition of the games, which is billed for Serowe College of Education is expected to attract 450 athletes who will be competing against each other.
Special Olympics Botswana Public Relations Officer, Fire Mogotsi said this year the Paralympics will not only focus on athletics like the previous ones.
“On top of athletics we have added unified soccer and unified volleyball. We have also added half marathon on athletics activities.”
Explaining unified soccer and volley he said “it is played by a combination of people with intellectual disabilities and those without disability,” Mogotsi. Those who have qualified for the nationals are the one who have done well at regional level and proceeded to the finals.
Mogotsi said the objective of the games is to show talent and capabilities of people living with disabilities. “The other objective is that these games will be part of the preparations towards the 2019 World Champions” Mogotsi.
On the teams he said he expects a fierce competition on the field and entertaining week.
“We encouraged Serowe people to come in large numbers to support Special Olympic and their athletes during the games. Entrance will be free hence we appeal to the people to come in large numbers” Mogotsi.
Specialists have been invited to help in examining athletes to promote healthy athletes.
A team of medical professionals have volunteered to examine the athletes.
“This year 11 audiologist and clinicians have volunteered their time and equipment to travel to Serowe to examine the athletes. The professionals will be coming from Ramotswa, Gaborone, Mahalapye, Jwaneng, Francistown, Maun and Serowe,” said Mogotsi.
Special Olympics Botswana has six regions in Botswana being, North, North West, Central, South Central, South and West.
Botswana debut in Paralympics was in 2004, during the summer Paralympics in Athens. In those games Botswana fielded only one athlete Tshotego Morama who won the only gold medal Botswana has from those games. Morama competed in 400 meters T46, setting a world record of 55.99 seconds.
According to Mogotsi the national games will be hosted by central region for the first time since its inception in 1987.