FIBA Europe will support Special Olympics Europe/Eurasia (SOEE) for the second consecutive year during the Special Olympics European Basketball Week to be held 26 November-4 December, 2005 across the region.
Special Olympics will be organizing basketball activities during the week throughout the region – tournaments, clinics, exhibition matches – and involve 10,000 children and adults and male and female players with intellectual disabilities in 30 countries.
Basketball Week is the flagship event of the FIBA Europe-SOEE partnership that was established in May 2004 with the signing of an agreement of cooperation to develop basketball for players with intellectual disabilities. The benefits of the partnership are already evident with the number of Special Olympics players in Europe/Eurasia increasing from approximately 13,000 to 20,000 players.
“We are delighted that national basketball federations and professional clubs came out in force during the first Special Olympics European Basketball Week. Courts sizzled across the region as players with intellectual disabilities had a chance to play basketball,” said Michael Smith, managing director, SOEE.
“We hope the basketball world will continue to support our players so that many more people can enjoy this great sport and show that through sports people with intellectual disabilities can be included more in society,” he added.
“FIBA Europe is happy to support the Special Olympics European Basketball Week because it represents an opportunity for FIBA Europe to fulfill its mandate to promote basketball, in all its forms, throughout the region,” said Nar Zanolin, secretary general, FIBA Europe.
“We want more people with intellectual disabilities of all ages and abilities to have a chance to experience the thrill of a sport that is enjoyed by us all,” he added.
Special Olympics, founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, is the world’s largest year-round program of sports training and competitions for individuals with intellectual disabilities. More than 1 million athletes in over 150 countries train and compete in 26 Olympic-style summer and winter sports at local, national and international events. Through its sports programs, Special Olympics strives to provide long-term benefits to individuals’ health, self-esteem and social integration.
Special Olympics and Paralympics are two separate organizations recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Special Olympics provides sports opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities of all ability levels. Paralympics provides sports opportunities for elite-level athletes with disabilities.