Kerala is witnessing the participation of all 14 districts as it celebrates 50 years of the Special Olympics program worldwide.
Organised by the Special Olympics Bharat-Kerala Chapter in collaboration with the National Charitable Trust, a mega event, titled 'Ekata', is bringing together 15000 Athletes and 5000 in a unified march on the occasion of the SO Bharat-Kerala State Athletic Meet, which is being held at the Lakshmibai National College of Physical Education (LNCPE) Greenfield Stadium, Trivandrum, Kerala from 11-14 January in different sporting and non- sporting activities.
The program was inaugurated on Thursday in the gracious presence of the Chief Guest, Shashi Tharoor, MP (Trivandrum).
The event was graced with the presence of many eminent persons and state officials- including, Kerela's Minister for Irrigation Mathews D Thomas and Kerala's Minister of Health and Social Justice KK Shailaja.
The state of Kerala ignited the Special Olympics torch of hope on the 1st of January 2018, celebrating 50 years of Special Olympics to kick start the State Athletic Meet.
The torch was lit in district of Kassargod and travelled through all the 14 districts, reaching Trivandrum on January 10.
Close to 20,000 athletes, coaches, professionals, government officials, law enforcers etc participated in the event with over 1000 persons walking unified in each district.
Athletics will be held on Saturday and Sunday with over 7000 Athletes from 257 special schools participating in 21 events across 1600 divisions.
Alongside athletics, 1000 young athletes between ages 2 and 8 years would be engaged in Young Athlete Sessions held at the venue.
The unified buddy march, followed by the Santa fest will see participation of 20000 persons (15000 Athletes and 5000 Unified partners). All will form the Santa's hat on the grounds of the stadium
"Government only does work for the normal students, but no one cares about students with disabilities. There must be a combined effort to work for them and support them in every possible way to nurture them in sports," said Dr Francis Cletus, Chairman, National Charitable Trust
Fr Roy Kannanchira, Area Director, SO Bharat - Kerala, said, " Kerala is the land of god. Let's make this a reality, the truth in every sense. Let's include persons with intellectual disabilities and make this place a divine experience."