The State of Kerala unites in its message of Inclusion through Special Athletes

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Kochi: Organized by the SO Bharat –Kerala Chapter in collaboration with the National Charitable Trust, tomorrow will witness participation of all 14 districts in celebration of 50 years of the Special Olympics program worldwide . Titled ‘Ekata’, the mega event will bring together 15000 Athletes and 5000 Coaches and Escorts in a Unified March on the occasion of the SO Bharat-Kerala State Athletic Meet to be held at the Lakshmibai National College of Physical Education (LNCPE) Greenfield Stadium, Trivandrum, Kerala from 11-14 January 2018 in different sporting and non- sporting activities

The program will be inaugurated on 11 January 5PM in the gracious presence of the Chief Guest, Mr Shashi Tharoor, MP (Trivandrum). The event will be graced with the presence of many eminent persons and state officials- Mr Mathews D Thomas, State Govt for Irrigation and Smt KK Shailaja, Minister of Health and Social Justice

Torch Run

The state of Kerala ignited the Special Olympics torch of hope on the 1st of January 2018 , celebrating 50 years of Special Olympics to kick start the State Athletic Meet. The torch was lit in district of Kassargod and travelled through all the 14 districts, reaching Trivandrum on 10 January. Close to 20,000 Athletes, Coaches, professionals, govt officials, law enforcers etc participated in the event with over 1000 persons walking unified in each district

Ekta Walk – torch reached Kawadiar at 4:30PM, handed over by the DGP Kerala Police police to the Special Olympics Athletes. Bike Riders, Skaters, Mounted police, Band Team, SAI LNCPE trainees participated in the walk held from Kawadiar to Kanakakkunnu. A classical flash mob of 100 dancers led by Smt Thara Kalyan and Ms Soubhagya Kalyan was held.

Agenda:

11 January 2018

Unified Buddy March | Santa Fest | Inauguration of the State Athletic Meet

12 January 2018

Athletics | Young Athletes

13 January 2018

Athletics | Unified football

14 January 2018

Cricket | Closing Ceremony

Athletics will be held on 12th and 13th and 14th from 6AM onwards with over 7000 Athletes from 257 Special schools participating in 21 events across 1600 divisions. Alongside Athletics 1000 Young Athletes between ages 2 and 8 yrs would be engaged in Young Athlete Sessions held at the venue.

The unified Buddy march, followed by the Santa fest will see participation of 20000 persons (15000 Athletes and 5000 Unified partners). All will form the Santa’s hat on the grounds of the stadium

Quote from Dr Francis Cletus, Chairman, National Charitable Trust: “Government only does work for the normal students, but no one cares about students with disabilities. There must be a combined effort to work for them and support them in every possible way to nurture them in sports”

Quote from Fr Roy Kannanchira, Area Director, SO Bharat – Kerala: “ Kerala is the land of god. Let’s make this a reality, the truth in every sense. Let’s include persons with intellectual disabilities and make this place a divine experience”