ISLAMABAD: An 85-member Pakistan contingent will take part in the Special Olympics World Games slated to be held in July this year in Los Angeles, it was announced on Monday.
The contingent will have 57 athletes who will participate in nine disciplines namely football, basketball, cycling, table tennis, tennis, athletics, swimming and power-lifting.
The US Embassy in Islamabad and Special Olympics Pakistan hosted a pre-departure orientation here at Hamidi Hall of Pakistan Sports Complex on Monday for athletes, coaches and support staff, who will be part of the Games.
“Around 7,000 athletes will be participating in the mega event, which will be watched by more than a half a million spectators,” US Embassy public affairs counsellor Angela Aggeler told Pakistani athletes.
Two officials of US embassy, aiming to boost the confidence of Pakistani special athletes, also participated in a friendly basketball match played between two Pakistan teams.
“We’ve selected best athletes and are hopeful that these athletes will earn laurels for the country,” Special Olympics Pakistan vice-chairman Anis-ur-Rehman told Dawn.
“The Intelligence Quotient (IQ) level of all these athletes is below 70 and we selected them through a transparent manner based on their performance in national championships and other competitions.”
Pakistan won 56 medals, including 32 golds, in the last edition of the Special Olympic World Games in Athens in 2011 while also grabbing 50 medals in the Special Olympic Asia Pacific Games held in 2013 in Australia.
Published in Dawn, Kashif Abbasi