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Date [ 2013-01-24, 15:00 ]

Singapore’s athletes to compete on unfamiliar grounds

(Singapore=Koreanpress) by John Kim = Snow and ice are not the usual background for Singapore’s athletes. But that is exactly what they will be contending with from January 29 to February 5, 2013 at PyeongChang, South Korea.
Taking part will be the island nation’s first ever Singapore  team for the Short Track Speed Skating category. The others are 15 Floor Hockey athletes from Special Olympics Singapore. They will be joining nearly 2,400 fellow athletes and teams from over 110 nations around the world at the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games.
  Other winter sports featuring at the Games include Alpine Skiing, Cross Country Skiing, Snow Boarding, Snow Shoeing, Figure Skating and Floor Ball demonstration.

  Together with Team Singapore athletes and officials, an official send-off ceremony was held on Sunday afternoon, January 20 at *Scape, where guest of honour, Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth, Lawrence Wong handed a state flag to the contingent. Dr Teo-Koh Sock Miang, President of Special Olympics Singapore, said: “This is the first time that Singapore is sending speed skaters (abled or disabled) to compete on an international level, a true testament that sports embraces all abilities. The Special Olympics World Winter Games will reveal our athletes' courage and determination, both on and off the playing field.”  Also present was His Excellency Mr. Oh Joon, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea.
  Ms. Salbiah Bte Zakaria, 18, who will be competing in the Short Track Speed Skating, expressed her excitement and hope for the Winter Games: “I am excited to be part of the very first team of speed skaters to represent Singapore at the Special Olympics World Winter Games. This is also my first time overseas, so I hope to enjoy my time in Korea, make new friends, and of course, win a medal for Singapore.”

  Since the first Special Olympics World Summer Games took place in 1968, the world-class sporting event has provided thousands of Special Olympics athletes worldwide opportunities to come together to showcase their athletic skills and celebrate the spirit of Special Olympics. Alternating between Summer Games and Winter Games, Special Olympics World Games bring public attention to the talents and capabilities of people with intellectual disabilities, helping to change attitudes and break down barriers that exclude them from the mainstream of the community.
Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown from a few hundred athletes to 4 million athletes in more than 170 countries worldwide, providing year-round sports training, athletic competition and related programmes. With programming in sports, health, education and community building, Special Olympics changes the lives of people with intellectual disabilities by solving the global injustice, isolation, intolerance and inactivity they face.

Taking a look at Special Olympics (SO) Singapore, it is a non-profit organisation dedicated to providing sports training and competition opportunities for children and adults with intellectual disabilities in Singapore. It was first formed in April 1983 as an adjunct committee of the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (MINDS) and the Association for the Educationally Subnormal Children now known as the Association for Persons with Special Needs (APSN). Today it is an officially registered voluntary welfare organisation affiliated to the National Council of Social Service and the Singapore National Olympic Council. It is also a recognised as a National Sports Association (NSA) by the Singapore Sports Council.
  Singapore has participated only once at the 2005 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Nagano, Japan, in Floor Hockey.


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