Hidetoshi Nakata. Photo credit: Pete Neville, Newcastle Sundance
Football legend Hidetoshi Nakata joined Special Olympics athletes from Asia Pacific and CEO Janet Froetscher in a friendly match today. The Unified Sports experience event combined teammates with and without intellectual abilities to showcase and promote the inclusionary power of sports.
Says Froetscher: “Today was a humbling and inspiring day, where we watched and participated in games where people with and without intellectual disabilities unified on the sporting field. This truly shows the power of sports, making us realise that with understanding, we are all really playing for the same team.”
Played by half a million people worldwide, Special Olympics Unified Sports® is recognized globally as an iconic program for social inclusion which activates attitude change and community building through an inclusive sport experience between individuals with and without intellectual disabilities.
Froetscher and Nakata are in Newcastle, Australia for the inaugural Special Olympics 2013 Asia Pacific Games, to support athletes from 29 Asia Pacific and East Asia nations. The athletes will compete in nine sports across seven venues in the Newcastle-Hunter region with competition in athletics, basketball, bocce, badminton, cricket, football, table tennis, ten pin bowling and swimming.
About Karyn Tan: Communications Manager, Asia Pacific region