DUSHANBE, June 15, Asia-Plus -- Competitions on field and track athletics and table tennis among children with intellectual disabilities started in northern Tajikistan on June 14.   

According to information from the “Special Olympics” Program office in Dushanbe, more than 1,000 children are participating in these competitions that will run till June 16.  On the results of the competitions in the Sughd province, candidates will be selected for participating in the 2006 Special Olympics European Youth Games that will be held in Rome from September 30 to October 5 this year.  The source says four athletes will represent Tajikistan in the Special Olympics European Youth Games in Rome. 

The Special Olympics European Youth Games 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.

On the sidelines of the competitions, a two-day seminar on the Special Olympics program for civil servants and heads of lyceums for disabled children opened in Khujand on June 14.   Ms. Dilbar Sharipova, director general of the Special Olympics in Tajikistan, is conducting the seminar.   

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.  There is no charge to participate in Special Olympics.  Special Olympics currently serves more than 2.25 million persons with intellectual disabilities in more than 200 programs in   more than 150 countries.