Special Olympics Ghana (SoG) has appealed for corporate and governmental support for Team Ghana as they prepare to participate in the 2017 Winter World Games to be staged in Austria.
The global event reserved for youngsters with intellectual disabilities, saw Ghana put up a great show at the last edition held in Los Angeles last year, winning three medals.
The four-member team to the Los Angles event comprised of Princess Ayin of Battor Special School, Isaac Otchere of the Dzorwulu Special School, Latiff Toufick of Garden City Special School and Victoria Obeng of Aboom Special School in Cape Coast.
Ayin won two silver medals in the 100 metres and 200 metres events, while Otchere took silver medal in the boys’ 100 metres event.
However, the team is in danger of missing out of next year’s event where they also hope to participate in the floor-ball competition this time around.
Speaking during the celebration of the founder of World Special Olympics, Eunice Kennedy Shriver (EKS Day) in Accra, board member of SoG, Nana Wereko Ampem, disclosed that a team had been selected from Special Schools all over the country which will be called to camp early next year in Accra to prepare for the games.
“We need support to camp the team and give them one of the best preparations ahead of the tournament. We are bent on improving upon our performance last year and we would stop at nothing to achieve that.”
He expressed gratitude to Coca-Cola, National Lottery Authority, Max International and Herbalife for their huge support for team Ghana at the Los Angeles Games last year.
On the celebration of EKS Day, Nana Wereko Ampem noted that the celebration of Madam Shriver’s legacy is to inspire and impact her indomitable spirit on current and emerging leaders to be architects of change with passion and purpose towards all persons living with intellectual disabilities.
Madam Shriver, who died at the age of 88 in 2009 through stroke, set up Camp Shriver across the length and breadth of the United States to develop real understanding for the plight of intellectually challenged persons and fight for equal and better life for them as well.
She made the world aware that persons living with intellectual disabilities was through no fault of theirs and went around calling on parents to bring their children with the situation to play.
This, he said, gave birth to the Special Olympics organisation which is now the biggest branded sports festival in the world with over four million athletes in 177 countries including Ghana.
“Through sports, this wonderful woman sought to make sure that all persons living with intellectual disabilities felt included and accepted in their communities. We all must come together and continue from where she left off,” he added.
Last year, Ghana celebrated its maiden EKS Day in Accra and the board resolved to celebrate this woman every year with the rest of the Special Olympic family worldwide.
By Raymond Ackumey