Samoa counts down to Special Olympics

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Special Olympics athletes and supporters with Joseph Parker at Digicel’s ‘All in One’ carnival.

Special Olympics athletes and supporters with Joseph Parker at Digicel’s ‘All in One’ carnival.

As the countdown begins to the 2019 Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi, Special Olympics Samoa has hit the ground running this year with preparations being made for the 2017 Torch Run and National Games planned for October. 

Although the Special Olympics movement is a global one, as a non-profit and non-government organisation, the team in Samoa know that the programs run at the grassroots level plays an important role in the lives of their athletes with the program giving athletes with intellectual disability an opportunity to share their talents and gain a sense of belonging. Digicel’s “All in One” Carnival gave athletes the chance to meet one of their sporting heroes Lupesoliai La’auliolemalietoa Joseph Parker.

Special Olympics Samoa witness how music and sport play a very significant role in our culture as Pacific people and that is why, the “Dance to the Same Beat” initiative came to be. Special Olympics Samoa Director Tusitina Nu’uvali comments about the “All in One” Carnival, “This event truly shows how powerful sports can be as a tool for inclusiveness and focuses on each persons ability.

The launch of our “Dance to the Same Beat” initiative could not have fit in more perfectly with the message that was shared by Digicel with the help of Joseph Parker, joining in a moment of joy and laughter as he danced with our athletes. One beat, One Dance, One People.” 

The athletes and their families were very keen to be involved in the fun activities conducted by the Digicel team and the sun did not hold them back from all the excitement. Parker’s attendance and active involvement during the day led to a very magical moment not only for the athletes and their parents but also the community. 

FUN TIMES: Kids pose with their boxing hero.
FUN TIMES: Kids pose with their boxing hero.

As a role model, Parker was able to advance the core message of the Special Olympics movement, that everyone has a right to equality and quality of life no matter our differences. 

 “A huge thank you to our Unified Partners Digicel Samoa and Joseph Parker. Our athletes are usually the ones bringing smiles to everyone’s faces however, Digicel Samoa’s initiative, Parker’s  enthusiasm and the communities support gave our athletes and their families a reason to smile brightly,” Nu’uvali said. 

The next event for Special Olympics Samoa will be a Fundraising Siva for the National Games on the 22 June at RSA followed by an event for the International Special Olympics Day: Eunice Kennedy Shriver Day on the 20 of July.  

The heart of the Special Olympics Samoa team are the athletes and the various individuals who volunteer their time as coaches, officials, supporters and fans. As the 2017 National Games approaches, a call out to people who wish to join as a volunteer coach, official or supporter to contact the Special Olympics team on Facebook or 8405020 or come along to their next event and get involved in helping to bring down barriers for a more inclusive Samoa.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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