(Brussels, Belgium, 14 May, 2008) - A Special Olympics European Basketball Tournament will be held 27-30 May 2008 in Marmaris, Turkey. Sixteen Special Olympics teams from 16 countries will compete in the event. The tournament is being hosted by Special Olympics Turkey in cooperation with the Turkish Intellectually Disabled Sports Federation and with support from the city of Marmaris and the Turkish Basketball Federation.
"The Marmaris tournament is an excellent way to showcase how basketball can give individuals with intellectual disabilities a sense of teamwork and camaraderie while developing greater recognition of their abilities both on and off the court. We appreciate the excellent support from the organizers who have worked extremely hard to ensure that Special Olympics basketball players will have a memorable experience," said Mary Davis, managing director of Special Olympics Europe/Eurasia (SOEE).
Opening Ceremonies will be held on 27 May at the open-air Marmaris Amphitheatre and is expected to attract over 6,000 spectators. Competitions will be held at the Admiral Orhan Aybin Sports Complex from 28-30 May. Closing Ceremonies will be held on 30 May.
Later this year, from 29 November-7 December 2008, the fifth Special Olympics European Basketball Week will be held and is expected to involve 25,000 Special Olympics players from 30 countries.
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 160 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 opportunities for elite-level athletes with disabilities.
For more information, contact: Martha Jo Braycich, Communications Director, at mjbraycichSOEE@compuserve.com.