Samoa to take 12 athletes to World Games
Samoa will be taking 12 athletes to the 2023 World Games in Berlin, Germany which is part of the Special Olympics and will be represented in three of the 26 sports offered.
The sports that the country will be represented in are athletics, bocce, and volleyball. Each sport has been modified to be inclusive to athletes with intellectual disabilities and each representative has been selected by the selection panel that assessed both on-field talent and ability to travel safely to Germany.
The Host Town Program gives each community the opportunity to showcase to the world what makes them special, but more importantly to provide citizens with a better understanding of intellectual disabilities that will lead to acceptance and inclusion for all.
The National Director for Special Olympics Samoa, Unasa Elizabeth Ah Poe said this was an opportunity of a lifetime for the athletes and for their coaches.
“Accompanying Samoa’s athletes will be four coaches recruited from our Youth Engagement and Family Networking Programs," she said. "These volunteer coaches have successfully participated in coach training courses run in partnership between Special Olympics Samoa and sporting bodies.
“Their sustained dedication and service to Special Olympics Samoa’s programs will ensure their experiences return to the grassroots level benefiting athletes in their villages.”
These athletes train every week and during their training, they are able to interact with their communities which increases their confidence in athletes. This has brought people together to assist and to understand that a small gesture makes a difference in creating an inclusive community.
The last time Samoa participated in the World Games was in 2019 when 17 athletes travelled to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates and returned with two gold, one silver, and one bronze medal. The women's football 7s team was placed fourth overall. This year they hope to bring back a higher medal count than their previous trip.
“The communities and families recognise the athletes’ potential which increases assistance and acceptance regardless of their differences,” she said.
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