FIBA Europe will endorse Special Olympics Europe/Eurasia (SOEE) for the third consecutive year during the Special Olympics European Basketball Week to be held 25 November-3 December, 2006 across the region.
Special Olympics will organize activities during the week that will involve 12,000 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 aim of developing basketball for players with intellectual disabilities.
Since the partnership was established, the number of Special Olympics players in the region has increased from 13,000 to almost 40,000 players. One of the highlights of the partnership has been the involvement of national basketball federations and professional clubs.
“National basketball federations and professional clubs have shown great solidarity for Special Olympics players, particularly during Basketball Week,” said Michael Smith, managing director, SOEE.
“We hope the basketball world will continue to endorse activities for Special Olympics players that lead to more awareness, acceptance and inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities,” he added.
“FIBA Europe is happy to endorse the Special Olympics European Basketball Week because sports plays an integral role in society and touches many people in a highly positive and participatory way,” said Nar Zanolin, secretary general, FIBA Europe.
“By endorsing initiatives like Basketball Week, FIBA Europe is showing its commitment to grow and develop sports at all levels of society,” 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 2.25 million athletes in over 150 countries train and compete in 30 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.
For more information, contact: Martha Jo Braycich, communications director, at mjbraycichSOEE@compuserve.com or Natalie Sandmann, FIBA Europe Special Olympics contact person at firstname.lastname@example.org.