The Special Olympics European Summer Games will soon be held in Belgium for the very first time. From 13 to 20 September, 2,000 athletes with mental disabilities from 58 European and Eurasian countries will compete in 10 different sports.
Antwerp is the official host city for the biggest sports event of the year, but it goes without saying that other municipalities and organisations are also rolling up their sleeves.
Visit of the Slovenian delegation
The municipalities of Kasterlee, Dessel and Retie are welcoming 20 Slovenian athletes and their coaches from 9 to 13 September. Jeugdsportnet (youth sports network) Kasterlee*Dessel*Retie are coordinating this so-called Host Town Programme, and can thereby rely on the help of some 30 volunteers. They support the athletes and their entourage, and organise a range of activities.
Three SCK•CEN collaborators who are of Slovenian origin immediately felt they could make a contribution, and were willing to take on the important role of interpreters. Their example inspired SCK•CEN to act as a sponsor for this extraordinary sporting and social project.
As an international organisation with employees representing 36 nationalities, we experience on a daily basis how important a hospitable welcome can be in a foreign environment. We are therefore happy that we can make our contribution by ensuring that the Slovenian delegation has a fantastic stay here, and by supporting the Special Olympics in general.
Games of the Heart
The Special Olympics Summer Games are much more than just a sporting event. The organisation of these Special Olympics – which are recognised by the International Olympic Committee – should lead to breaking taboos regarding people with a mental disability. For this reason, the ‘Games of the Heart’ are framed by a range of cultural and additional sporting events throughout the country. Special Olympics also extends a hand to the world of politics, and aims to influence policy with regard to people with a mental disability. The ultimate goal: to create a better care system, and to provide relatives and carers with more and better support.
More information about the Special Olympics European Summer Games is available on the website: http://www.so2014.com/