Sportsmanship, On the Playing Fields and Off

October 20, 2010

Three Special Olympics athletes from the Serbian town of Cacak received an award for their sporting achievements.  In an act of generosity and sportsmanship, they decided to help out their hometown team with a contribution.

Special Olympics athletes are recogrnized for their sporting achievements

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On 2 October 2010, during a presentation for talented young athletes in Serbia, three Special Olympics athletes were among those recognized by the Ministry of Youth and Sport. The young people were recognized for their achievements in sports, arts and sciences. Five athletes were selected in the top category; among them were three Special Olympics athletes: Djordje Polic, 20, Dejan Dakic, 19, and Marko Polic, 19. Minister Snezana Samardzic-Markovic presented the awards. The Ministry of Youth and Sport has been a strong supporter of Special Olympics Serbia for several years and has been instrumental in including sports for people with disabilities into mainstream sports.

That recognition was just the latest that these exceptional young men have received.

The three Special Olympics athletes from Cacak had already been recognized for their sporting achievements during the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Idaho, USA. Then, when they returned home from the United States, they were awarded 2,000 Euros (about $2,750) by the Ministry’s Youth section. To the athletes and their families, this amount represented almost double each family’s annual income.

More than a year later, Djordje and Marko, who are brothers, and Dejan, in consultation with their families, offered their award money to help pay for uniforms for the athletes participating in the Special Olympics European Games in September. Their generous offer -- a gesture of thanks to Special Olympics Serbia -- was graciously declined. But the three young men still wanted to contribute in some way, so they gave each of the athletes in their hometown delegation 50 Euros (about $70) as spending money. During the European Games, they kept in touch with coach Milorad Djondric via text message to find out how the team was doing.

“Djordje, Dejan and Marko were recognized for their sporting achievements at the highest level and we are so proud of them. But it is their act of generosity that touched us all very deeply. Their parents have raised fine young men who set the highest standards of human decency within Special Olympics Serbia,” said Aleksandar Stanojevic, Special Olympics Serbia National Director.

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