Special Olympics gears up for post-COVID events

Salalah: The Dhofar chapter of the Oman Special Olympics Committee discussed the modalities for the future events in line with its readiness for the international events, many of which have been postponed due to COVID-19.

The committee met on Tuesday to discuss its plan of action, including sports, cultural and health programmes for the children with special needs.

“Only a select team of the committee met due to COVID concerns and to ensure that all the parameters suggested by the Supreme Committee on COVID-19 are followed,” said Naif Ahmed Said al Shanfari, Chairman of Dhofar Branch of the Omani Special Olympics Committee.

He called for readiness for events and international participation as soon as the pandemic gets over. He exhorted the members and heads of sports, culture, and health programme sections of the committee, to draw plans and be in touch with the parents of the special needs children.

“This is a critical time for everyone. I feel for the special children as it is difficult for them and their parents to follow the regular exercise regime due to outdoor restrictions. It is important for them to be safe at the same they should be mentally and physically active,” he said.

The International Special Olympics, according to Al Shanfari, is a global movement aimed at creating a new world in which the acceptance of each individual without any physical or mental discrimination is assured.

Commenting on Oman’s Special Olympic journey, Al Shanfari said, “Under a ministerial decree of the Ministry of Social Development, the Al Amal Association was formed in 2010 to improve the behavioural, motor, and professional skills of people with intellectual disabilities, while Oman became part of the global movement of Special Olympics in March 2016.

He called upon the parents of the special children to keep their wards engaged in some activities and manage a regime of exercise daily. “In a normal situation, we organise activities, but any activity that requires gathering is not possible now…Continuity is a must for them to cope up with the situation,” he said.