Special Olympics Nigeria (SON) has successfully concluded the Unified Sports programme sponsored by Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF).
The SNF unified sports programme is a school and community based initiative of SON that engages participants with and without intellectual disabilities in football and air badminton sports training and competition.
Athletes with intellectual disabilities and the unified partners that is people without intellectual disabilities took part in self-development programmes, and sports training sessions two times weekly, within various communities and centres over the duration of 21 weeks beginning November 2020 and ending April 2021.
The activities, which came to an end with a grand finale tournament, held at Igbobi College, Yaba, Lagos, featured football and air-badminton competition, mentorship sessions, award presentation and a dance challenge.
After 21 weeks, 192 athletes and 186 unified partners were equipped with sports and developmental skills, whilst 51 coaches enhanced their sports management and training skills.
Beneficiaries successfully improved their physical fitness and sports skills, and participated in self-developmental programmes including unified youth discussion forums to equip them with life skills and prepare them for the future.
The partnership between SON and SNF to implement the Foundation unified sports programme promoted inclusion, encouraged friendships, and showcased the sports skills of persons with and without intellectual disabilities in football and air badminton.
SON is part of a worldwide movement that is aimed at changing the misconceptions individuals have about people with intellectual disabilities.
The mission provides various sports training and athletic competitions in a variety of Olympic – type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities thus providing a platform where their abilities are celebrated in the society.
SNF is one of the world’s leading private, international philanthropic organisations, making grants to non-profit organisations in the areas of arts and culture, education, health and sports, and social welfare. SNF funds organisations and projects worldwide that aim to achieve a broad, lasting, and positive impact for society at large, and exhibit strong leadership and sound management. The Foundation also supports projects that facilitate the formation of public-private partnerships as an effective means for serving public welfare.