DUSHANBE, March 29, Asia-Plus -- Ms. Olga Bakhareva, coordinator of the Special Olympics Office for Central Asia, arrived in Dushanbe on March 28 for a working visit.

Ms. Dilbar Sharipova, director general of the Special Olympics Office in Tajikistan, has told Asia-Plus that during the visit Ms. Bakhareva intends to discuss issues related to the strategic plan of development of the Special Olympics program in Tajikistan designed for 2006-2010 and drawing more children with disabilities into sports.  

Besides, coordinator of the Special Olympics Office for Central Asia is also scheduled to hold talks with senior representatives from Tajikistan’s ministries of education and labor to discuss support of these organizations for development of the mentioned program in the country.

Ms. Bakhareva also intends to consider the issue of participation of our Special Olympics athletes in the Special Olympics European Youth Games in Rome in September this year as well as in the 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games that will beheld in Shanghai, China on October 10-19 2007.

The Special Olympics European Youth Games in Rome will involve 1,400 athletes from all 57 Special Olympics National Programs in Europe and Eurasia. This is the first time that a Special Olympics event is focused on young people between the ages of 12 and 21.

In Shanghai, Special Olympics athletes of all ability levels will compete in 20 different Special Olympics and Olympic-type sports: aquatics, athletics, badminton, basketball, bocce, bowling, cycling, equestrian, football (soccer), golf, gymnastics, handball, judo, power-lifting, roller skating, sailing, softball, table tennis, tennis and volleyball.

Ms. Dilbar Sharipova says quotas have been provided for Tajik athletes for participations in these games.  “Four youth athletes have been invited to participate in Special Olympics European Youth Games in Rome, and in Shanghai, 27 Tajik athletes will compete in the following Special Olympics and Olympic-type sports: soccer; table tennis and athletics,” said Ms. Sharipova, “But for participation of our athletes in these games we need to find sponsors.” 

ABOUT: Special Olympics is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering individuals with intellectual disabilities to become physically fit, productive and respected members of society through sports training and competition. Special Olympics offers children and adults with intellectual disabilities year-round training and competition in 26 Olympic-type summer and winter sports.