Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: SARAJEVO ( BiH )
Bosnia and Herzegovina to Host 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games
NAGANO, Japan, March 4 /Xinhua-PRNewswire/ -- Special Olympics and the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games Bid Committee will announce tomorrow that Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, will be the site of the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games. The 2009 Games are expected to attract 2,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities from at least 80 countries as well as thousands of families, volunteers, spectators and media from around the world. Exact dates for the 2009 Games have yet to be finalized. This will be the second time that Special Olympics World Winter Games will be hosted in Europe; Austria was the site of the 1993 Special Olympics World Winter Games.
The announcement will be made on 5 March during Closing Ceremonies of the 2005 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Nagano.
Major factors in selecting Bosnia and Herzegovina as the site of the 2009 Games were the country's climate and geography, its Olympic athletic facilities, and the strong Special Olympics Program in Bosnia and Herzegovina which in the past three years has yielded tremendous progress in athlete enrollment and community participation. As a result, Special Olympics is now recognized as one of the fastest growing sports organizations in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
''By awarding the Special Olympics World Winter Games to Bosnia and Herzegovina we will be celebrating how Special Olympics builds communities and unites people with a common message of hope, humanity and acceptance,'' said Timothy P. Shriver, Ph.D., president and CEO, Special Olympics, Inc. ''The universal language of sport, so beautifully immortalized in the 1984 Olympic Games in Sarajevo, will once again embrace the very best of the human spirit, enabling people with intellectual disabilities to showcase their athletic ability while taking their rightful place as valued members of society,'' Shriver said.
Prime Minister Adnan Terzic, who is attending the Nagano Games, said that the Bosnian government and people are proud to have been given this unique honor to host the 2009 Games. ''The Special Olympics World Games will send an important message about the readiness of Bosnia and Herzegovina to ensure better, more urgent and complete solutions to meet the needs of people with intellectual disabilities,'' said Terzic. ''At the same time, the Games will provide, particularly for the younger generation, a positive way to contribute to creating a more welcoming and caring society,'' he added.
Special Olympics, founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, is the world's largest year-round program of sports training and competitions for individuals with intellectual disabilities of all ability levels. Almost 2 million athletes in over 150 countries train and compete in 26 summer and winter Olympic-type sports at local, national and international events. Through its sports and sports-related programming, Special Olympics provides long-term benefits to an individual's health, self-esteem and social inclusion.
Special Olympics and Paralympics are two separate organizations recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Paralympics provides sports opportunities for elite-level athletes with disabilities.
- VICTORIA BECKHAM
- SARAJEVO - BiH
- Mervana Jugić-Salkić ( 24-5 )