Panaji: 184 special youth, drawn from 24 states under the banner of Special Olympics Bharat, will undergo the final training camp in Delhi before they set out to represent India at Special Olympics World Summer Games to be held in Athens from June 25.
The Indian contingent will consist of nearly 7,500 athletes. While the games cater to 22 different Olympic-type sports, India will participate in 12 disciplines: Aquatics,Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Bocce, Cycling, Football, Handball, Powerlifting, Rollerskating, Volleyball , and Table-Tennis, stated Air Marshall (Retd) Denzil Keelor, Chairman, Special Olympics Bharat.
Air Marshall Keelor, said that throughout the week-long competition, the children will display their athletic skill, determination and courage at the birthplace of modern sport.
"It will be one of the largest sporting events held in the world in 2011, aimed at bringing public attention to the talents and capabilities of people with intellectual disabilities, helping to change attitudes and break down barriers that excluded them from the mainstream of the community," he said.
The Indian squad has been drawn from the following states:
Assam, Karnataka, Bihar, Goa, Delhi, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Chandigarh, Chattisgarh, Haryana, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Pondicherry, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim and Uttarakhand.
The final camp for intensive training from June 9-19 will be held in New Delhi at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium; Thyagaraj Stadium; Sri Fort Stadium and Murerka Stadium under the supervision of 50 Special Olympics Bharat Coaches.
The athletes were selected over a period of two years and spotted at different national events. Thereafter, they have undergone coaching in three camps in Hyderabad, Haryana and Pondicherry, said Victor Vaz, National Sports Director, Special Olympics Bharat in a press release here.
India has been participating in Special Olympics World Summer Games since 1987 and has always been among the medal winners.
In the last Games held in Shanghai, China, India bagged in all 148 medals, 36 gold, 45 silver and 67 bronze.
Besides the sports events, the special youth will also participate in various special events like Global Youth Summit, Family Forum, Healthy Athletes, Screening Global Law Enforcement, Torch Run, Opening and Closing Ceremonies.