Malaysia’s Special Olympics Team Gets Ready For Berlin

 A training session for athletes at the IPG Kampus Perempuan Melayu Melaka. Photo courtesy of SOM.

KUALA LUMPUR, May 10 – A delegation of 39 coaches, officials, and athletes representing Malaysia at the Special Olympics World Games 2023 completed centralised training in Durian Daun, Melaka last weekend and the team is all set for the World Games set to take place in Berlin, Germany from June 17th to June 25th.

During the centralised training in Melaka, some of the 16 intellectually disabled (ID) athletes and their six unified partners met for the first time since the National Games 2022 to practice for team events like the 100m relay and badminton mixed doubles, as well as unified team events such as bocce unified doubles, badminton unified doubles, and bowling.

Dr. Sivanesan Govindasamy from Perak will lead the Malaysian team to Berlin as head of delegation, with Bong Koi Sin from Melaka serving as the assistant, a statement released by the Special Olympics Malaysia Secretariat said here today.

Dr. Sivanesan said the event was an all-inclusive sporting event with participation from 170 countries worldwide.

“So, when you win gold at this world game, you are a true world champion,” he said during a ceremony to welcome Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Adam Adli, who visited the centralised training in Melaka.

Addressing the participants, Adam Adli acknowledged the immense challenges that the athletes face to represent the nation at an international level, especially at a sporting event like the Special Olympics. He also acknowledged the skills, experience, and patience required for the athletes of different abilities to work together as a unified team for the badminton, bowling, and bocce events.

Before departing for Berlin, the delegation will meet once again in the capital city for a send-off ceremony expected to be attended by Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh, and the country’s sports personalities and legends.

Special Olympics Malaysia or SOM, is a non-profit organisation, which relies mostly on grants and corporate sponsors. It is an accredited national program with ten state programmes under its umbrella that works to  provide year-round sports training and competition for athletes with Intellectual Disabilities (ID).

Since being founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown to over six million athletes and unified partners in over 190 countries. It is the world’s largest sports organisation for children and adults with Intellectual Disability.