|The annual Special Olympics European Basketball Week was first held in 2004, being a highlight in the basketball calendar |
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 of all ability levels.
More than 4 million athletes in over 170 countries train and compete in 31 Olympics-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.
Basketball is one of the most popular sports in Special Olympics with more than 419,000 players world-wide, and 55226 in Europe/Eurasia, who compete at local, national, European and World levels. All players with intellectual disability of all ability levels who meet the age requirements are welcomed.
In 2004, Special Olympics Europe/Eurasia (SOEE), a regional office, began a partnership with FIBA Europe. The aim of the partnership was to add 15,000 new Special Olympics players by 2006 (starting from 15,000) and significantly change public attitudes toward people with intellectual disabilities. To achieve this goal, the project focused on:
- Establishing Unified Basketball in which players with and without intellectual disabilities participate on the same team
- Significantly expanding women’s basketball
- Recruiting and training new coaches
- Creating a network of national Special Olympics basketball coordinators
- Involving as partners FIBA Europe and national basketball federations and clubs in at least 30 countries
- Establishing Annual Special Olympics European Basketball Week
|Unified Basketball brings together players with and without disabilities, stressing on friendship and tolerance|
The European Basketball Week concept initiated in 2004, is the flagship event of the FIBA Europe-Special Olympics Europe/Eurasia (SOEE) partnership and was instrumental to continue the growth of Special Olympics Basketball in Europe and reach over 55,000 basketball players with intellectual disabilities.
If you would like more information on Special Olympics basketball in Europe and Eurasia, please contact:
Senior Manager, Organizational Development and Sports
Special Olympics Europe/Eurasia
Plochocinska 19, 03-191 Warsaw, Poland
T: +48.22. 823 93 31
Visit the following Web site: www.SpecialOlympics.org
See also: Basketball For Everyone