New Delhi: Following an intensive football training program, Special Olympics Bharat Athletes leave on Saturday for the qualifier round at Bangkok as one of the seven teams who are participating there.
Two teams will be finally selected to represent the Asia Pacific region at the finals in FIFA Unified World Cup Brazil along with 30 more teams.
Special Olympics World Unified Cup is an initiative of FIFA where Special Olympics Athletes (people with intellectual disabilities) and their partners (persons without intellectual disabilities) play as teammates.
In Unified Football the partners cannot show off their individual skills. They must involve the special players in all build-ups or risk getting disqualified.
Olympics World Unified Football Cup offers a world-class competition where Special Olympics football players can demonstrate their skills and talents in sports and feel the pride of representing their countries at a Football World Championship Cup.
Twenty nine out of 250 athletes from all over India were selected in a camp held in April in Hyderabad.
Later, an intensive 20-day training of six hours per day at Goa helped enhancing the techniques, skills and endurances of the players.
Nine special athletes and seven regular players, called partners, qualified to form the final team.
To ensure best quality standards, the technical team was successful in roping in Subrata Paul (India goalkeeper), Armando Colaco (former India coach), Climax Lawrence (former captain) and Nizar (upcoming player) who have partnered with the athletes.
The entire Indian contingent of 22 athletes and coaches assembled in Delhi for a four-day intensive training under the guidance of former India player Carlton Chapman.