Francistown — Executive director of Khupe Group of Companies, Abel Khupe has advised Special Olympic athletes to start preparing now in order to excel at the 2023 Special Olympic Games penciled for Germany.
Speaking at the start of the national Special Olympic Games themed: Inclusion revolution; play unified, in Francistown on November 26, Khupe said preparing on time would place them in a better position to bring medals and make Batswana.
He also urged the private sector to join hands with Special Olympics by sponsoring athletes and for coaches training.
Khupe further stated that every year over five million special Olympic athletes overcome injustice to come to the playing fields of sport in order to lay claim to their rightful place on the playing fields of life.
He urged the athletes to continue working hard because striving was what lifts the human spirit.
"Risking without fear or failure is the heart of the Olympic movement. I encourage you to play with openness since joy is the soul of Special Olympics," he added.
He expressed gratitude towards the government for opening inclusive schools countrywide where most of the athletes were, and for providing financial support for the implementation of the national Olympic games in Francistown.
In his welcome remarks, Basic Education regional operations director, Labane Mokgosi commended government to have seen it fit to award special Olympic athletes in the last games held in Dubai.
The monetary prizes were a motivation to the athletes as gold medalists were awarded P100 000 while silver and bronze medalists were awarded P75 000 and P50 000 respectively.
Mokgosi said it was a lot of money given the country's economic challenges.
Giving an overview of the Special Olympic games, director, Special Olympics Botswana, Rosslyn Tebele said in the past people with disability were hidden by their relatives because they were not considered humans.
He said nowadays government had introduced inclusiveness hence they were allowed to participate in any sporting activities of their choice.
"This comes as a wake-up call for government and everybody to voice out for the disabled and stand against the inequalities that trended back in the days," he said.
A former Special Olympics Games athlete, Glad Ketaleka said being part of the Special Olympics helped him to accept himself, and to have special interests hence paving the way to reach his dreams.
He encouraged other Special Olympic athletes to take part in every Special Olympics event and to never despair if they did not win. The Turopo ya muka games will end on Friday.
<i>Source : BOPA</i>