Three-day Special Olympics coaches’ training kicked-off on Tuesday in Blantyre with guest of honour Krishna Achuthan calling for Malawi sports to embrace intellectually challenged people.
“The athletes are special, but they must not be victimised. As coaches, you need patience and tolerance; that responsibility is in your hands. We want Special Olympics athletes to feel that they are part and parcel of the community,” said Achuthan, Sports Council board member.
Special Olympics Malawi is hosting the training at Sports Council in conjuction with Special Olympics International as part of its core mission to empower intellectually challenged people through training them in sports.
Speaking earlier, Special Olympics Malawi chairperson Peter Mazunda and national director Felix Chisowa challenged the coaches, over 40 drawn from across the country, to create a conducive environment where people with intellectual disabilities are “respected and accepted.”
“You as coaches should always remember that consistent training is crucial to the development of sports. You have the responsibility to create conditions under which they are accepted and respected to become productive citizens,” Mazunda advised.
Special Olympic International director for sports development Charles Nyambe advised the participants to brainstorm and devise training programmes tailor-made for Malawian conditions.
“We have 20 accredited associations in Africa. There were 32 but some did not meet the requirements. I am glad Malawi is one of the focus countries. They have come a long way. The goals you have met in Malawi are outstanding that is why Special Olympics is making more investment in Malawi,” he said.