Down syndrome athletes play to empty stadium for world champs

2015-12-01 21:15
(File, iStock)

(File, iStock)

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Bloemfontein – The South African Sports Association for the Intellectually Impaired says Down syndrome athletes were forced to play to an empty stadium during their World Championships in which they emerged the winners.

A disappointed Tessa van Heerden, the association's spokesperson, said the event was the first to be hosted in Africa and was staged at the Dr Petrus Molemela Stadium in Rocklands, Bloemfontein. South Africa took first place at the event.

"The entire week, the athletes competed on a world class level and although we promoted the event, it was sad that the stadium was empty," said Van Heerden.

She stressed that creating awareness was an ongoing project on a local and international level.

"If the public don’t come, then they won’t realise what they are missing. The abilities of these athletes are amazing. A person might see them as disabled and assume they can’t do anything, but they can."

Van Heerden said, although the world championships did not receive the maximum attention they had hoped for, the South African team still came out tops.

"We were happy with the support we received from local and national media agencies and are positive that through them our support will grow. Our motto 'Let’Share their dreams – be inspired' will grow from strength to strength."

Down syndrome is a chromosomal disorder which causes delay in physical, intellectual and language development, it is also one of the leading clinical causes of intellectual disability in the world.

Read more on:    bloemfontein

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