Special Olympics European Basketball Week 2009 to Encourage Unity

09.11.2009

For the sixth consecutive year FIBA Europe has endorsed Special Olympics Europe/Eurasia's sixth annual Special Olympics European Basketball Week to be held 28 November- 6 December 2009 across the region. 

Basketball Week is expected to involve 15,000 basketball players with intellectual disabilities from 30 countries in a wide range of activities.

Special Olympics
Special Olympics European Basketball Week is expected to involve 15,000 athletes.
This year, the theme of the week will be "Unified Basketball", enabling people with intellectual disabilities and without to play on integrated teams. Unified Sports ® has proven for Special Olympics to not only develop the sports skills of athletes but also helps change attitudes and break down barriers to inclusion. Another emphasis of the week will be on women's basketball with a focus on increasing the number of female players.

Basketball Week is the flagship event of the FIBA Europe-Special Olympics Europe/Eurasia (SOEE) partnership that was established in May 2004 with the aim of developing basketball for players with intellectual disabilities.  Since then, the number of Special Olympics players in the region has increased from 13,000 to 53,000 players.  One of the highlights of the partnership has been the involvement of national basketball federations and professional clubs.

"FIBA Europe continues its endorsement of the Special Olympics European Basketball Week as part of our commitment to develop basketball for everyone in society to enjoy" said Nar Zanolin, Secretary General, FIBA Europe. 

"We are delighted that FIBA Europe and the national basketball federations and professional clubs continue to support Special Olympics players through initiatives like European Basketball Week that lead to more acceptance and inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities," said Mary Davis, Managing Director, Special Olympics Europe/Eurasia. 

"Unified Basketball is crucial to Special Olympics being able to use sport as a catalyst for respect, acceptance and inclusion".

Special Olympics Europe/Eurasia works with half a million athletes with intellectual disabilities across 30 sports in 58 countries in Europe and Central Asia. It takes place every day through sports training and year-round competitions that transform the lives of people with intellectual disabilities, providing life-changing benefits that transcend the playing field.

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 physical disabilities. 

For more information, contact:  Maureen Rabbitt, communications director, Special Olympics Europe/Eurasia, at mrabbitt@specialolympics.org


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