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Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023 |30 May 2023

Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023

MCB managing director Bernard Jackson handing over the kit

More sponsors join in as Team Seychelles gear up for 16th World Games


In the last phase of their preparations for the upcoming 16th Special Olympics World Games scheduled for Berlin, Germany from June 17 to 25, Team Seychelles is still receiving the support of more local sponsors, while more are still pledging their support toward the good cause.

The Special Olympics World Games offer the opportunity to unite the world like no other event can. Here people with and without disabilities, people of different nations, cultures, political views and religions meet and can overcome existing prejudices with the power of sport.

Berlin, Germany will welcome 7,000 Special Olympics athletes and unified partners from approximately 170 countries to compete in 24 sports.

The athletes will be supported by more than 3,000 coaches and 20,000 volunteers.

On Sunday, Special Olympics Seychelles received the support, through various forms, from three more sponsors which will go directly towards the expenses for the Berlin trip.

Mauritius Commercial Bank (MCB), through its managing director Bernard Jackson, presented the team their kit for the Games, including trainers, back packs, t-shirts, among other items, while Nouvobanq, has contributed partly towards the airfares.

The bank was represented by senior corporate affairs officer Laurie-Mae Lepathy-Ansah at the ceremony which took place at Stad Popiler, in the presence of athletes, coaches, sports director for Special Olympics Seychelles Gordon Boodna and parents.

The Gerard Hoarau Foundation on its part, through vice-chairman Barry Gendron presented a cheque worth R10,000 which will go towards additional expenses of the team.

On behalf of MCB, Mr Jackson noted that it was the commitment and devotion of the athletes towards their training that encouraged the bank to come forward and bring its support, adding that even if the athletes’ motto is to try, he is convinced that other than trying, they will also succeed.

Mrs Lepathy-Ansah said, the contribution is part of the bank’s responsibility and commitment to give back to the community, while pledging Nouvobanq’s full supports to the athletes at the Games.

On behalf of the Gerard Hoarau Foundation, Mr Gendron described the late Mr Hoarau as someone who was very passionate about sports, especially when it comes to young boys and girls.

He said the donation has nothing to do with money, but rather to promote his vision, ideas, and whatever else he stood for in relation to sports.

Mr Gendron added that the foundation will always assist in all instance in providing for charitable organisations and sporting events, and other than promoting the ideology, they also hope that their contributions do good, and help significantly towards the cause.

On behalf of the board of the Special Olympics Seychelles, athletes, parents, and coaches, national coordinator Hellen Ernesta thanked the sponsors, along all others who in one way, or another brought forward their generous contribution towards, not only the trip to the World Games, but also during athletes’ preparations and other formalities and logistics.

Ms Ernesta also urged them to maintain the continuous support, while inviting other sponsors onboard, noting that the special athletes need the support of everyone in every way they can.

Team Seychelles at the Games will be made up of Donelle Ernesta (girls athletics), Jean-Marc de Silva and Anil Quatre (boys athletics), Graham Jacques, Anielle Charlette – from La Digue – Peter Valentin, Maggie Estico – from Praslin – Aleandro Croisée, Suzie Sarakkya – from Mahé – (bocce), and Richard Sophola (power lifting).

Leaving on Monday June 12, they will be accompanied by head coach Erica Celeste, coaches Olivier Nibourette, Vincent Cedras, Rency Balgobin, Jean Vardin, Ms Ernesta (head of delegation), Raymonde Onezime (assistant head of delegation) and Dr Mickey Noel (medical).

For the 16th Games, Seychelles received ten quotas, including six bocce players (three male and three female), three track and field athletes (two male and one female), along with one power lifter.

For bocce, a pair has been picked from the three main islands, while for athletics, the names of all first-place finishers in the various events were put in a bag, where three were names picked.

The names of male and female athletes were put into different bags for a fair selection process.

The first International Special Olympics Summer Games were held in Chicago, Illinois, United States, in 1968, while the first International Special Olympics Winter Games were held in February 1977 in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, United States.

In 1991, the name was officially changed from International Special Olympics Summer/Winter Games to Special Olympics World Summer/Winter Games.

In 2011, Special Olympics World Summer Games were held on June 25 – July 4 in Athens, Greece, involving 6,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities from 170 countries.

In 2013, the Special Olympics World Winter Games were held in Pyeong Chang, South Korea from Jan 29 – Feb 5.

In 2017, the Special Olympics World Winter Games took place in Graz and Schladming in Styria, Austria.

This marked a return: Salzburg and Schladming, Austria hosted the fifth Special Olympics World Winter Games in 1993. These were the first Special Olympics World Games held outside the United States.

The 2017 World Winter Games were held on March 14-25, 2017. Kazan, Russia was due to host the Winter Special Olympics between January 23-29, 2023, originally to be held in Åre and Östersund, Sweden. However the Swedish government withdrew its hosting rights in December 2019 due to financial problems.

The event had been postponed to January 2023 due a rise of Covid-19 cases.

Following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the event was cancelled due to logistical and safety issues.

The more recent Special Olympics World Summer Games were held March 14–21, 2019 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

These were the first Special Olympics World Games to be held in the Middle East/North Africa region. Competitions were held in 24 sports.


Roland Duval


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