President honours SA Special Olympics Team

President Cyril Ramaphosa has commended the outstanding performance of South Africa’s national team, which excelled at this year’s Special Olympics World Games.

Competing against 7 000 athletes from over 180 countries at the Special Olympics World Games in Germany in June 2023, the national team returned with 22 gold, 20 silver and seven bronze medals.

Special Olympics is a global movement of people creating a new world of inclusion and community, where every person is welcome, regardless of ability or disability.

“Our success in the Special Olympics shows what happens when government and civil society – represented here by Special Olympics South Africa – work together to ensure that we leave no one behind.

“South Africa is honoured to be one of the first countries to support the Special Olympics Global Leadership Coalition for Inclusion, which reflects our commitment to the inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities in all areas of our society,” the President said on Tuesday.

Having hosted a number of national teams at the Union Buildings as part of government’s celebration for outstanding achievements by athletes in various sporting codes, the President expressed pride in Team South Africa’s performance.

“We are proud that Team South Africa flew the flag for social inclusion and the advancement of human rights, which are a hallmark of the nation we have built during nearly 30 years of freedom.

“Team South Africa are heroes we can look up to and be inspired by in athletic arenas and in every walk of life in our country. May our commitment to inclusion as a nation shine as brightly as the achievements of our Special Olympics Team,” President Ramaphosa said.

He said the team’s dedication, perseverance and unwavering commitment to their sport has not only brought glory to the nation but it has also shattered the barriers that once confined them.

The team is being led by Chairperson of Special Olympics South Africa, Dr Mathews Phosa, who was recently honoured at the 19th Special Olympics Africa Leadership Conference in Addis Ababa.

“With such a hard-working and distinguished captain at the helm of Special Olympics South Africa we can only expect even greater things from Team South Africa,” the President said.

Phosa spoke about the importance of the inclusion of people with an intellectual disability.

“Our athletes want to be heard and they demand inclusion, respect and equal opportunities. They declare that they are here to show the world their talents and abilities. They deserve nothing else but our unwavering support,” he said.

Source: South African Government News Agency