Lights, Sound and Unity: Grand Opening Ceremony of Special Olympics World Games -
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Lights, Sound and Unity: Grand Opening Ceremony of Special Olympics World Games 

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 The 255 member strong India contingent walked on for the Special Olympics World Games on Saturday

Khel Today Bureau 
Berlin: Cheered on by a loud and enthusiastic crowd at the iconic Olympiastadion Berlin — a stage that has hosted the 2006 FIFA World Cup final and currently serves as the home of Hertha Berlin SC — a 255 member strong India contingent walked on for the Special Olympics World Games, yesterday.

(L-R) Geetanjali Nagvelar, Ankush Kumar, Aryan Nagalli and Kalpana Jena led Indian contingent at Special Olympics World Games Opening Ceremony.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Chairman Special Olympics Timothy Shriver were among the key attendees for an opening ceremony that featured local and international musical talent and a brilliant choreography display.

Indian contingent at Special Olympics World Games Opening Ceremony .

Special Olympics Bharat has always prided itself on its diversity, reach and success at the quadrennial World Games and the ones kicking off in Berlin are no different. It will be the turn of a new batch of athletes to not just make their performances their own but also use the stage to make friends and everlasting memories.

India’s delegation was led by roller skater Aryan Nagalli, one of the most promising athletes part of the contingent for the World Games 2023.

As a child, Nagalli was denied a chance to participate in a roller-skating competition due to his being a special needs athlete. It was a rejection that spurred his parents to establish a roller-skating academy that caters to over 70 skaters, many of them with intellectual disabilities or physically impaired. As for young Aryan, he is among the most decorated athletes at the state level right now.

Alongwith Nagalli, three more athletes from three different parts of the country led the line for the Indian contingent — handball player Ankush Kumar, from Delhi, athlete Geetanjali Nagvelar from Goa and cyclist Kalpana Jena from Odisha.

Speaking at the launch ceremony, Mr. Shriver invoked the contributions of his mother, Eunice Kennedy-Shriver, the founder of the Special Olympics movement and said that Berlin would serve as the ‘perfect stage to break down barriers. “Over the past few years, through the pandemic we have experienced how inhuman it is to separate people from one another, ” he said. “These Games give us the chance to become Unbeatable Together.”

The Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023 will be broadcast to hundreds of millions of viewers worldwide, showcasing athletic performance and highlighting stereotype-defying stories – changing minds and opening hearts through transformational inclusion.

The official mascot of the world games is called ‘Unity’, the mascot a name chosen by Special Olympics athletes from around the world and whose heart shape was inspired by the official logo of the World Games that symbolizes togetherness and affection. The World Games Berlin 2023 motto is “unbeatable together,” and that spirit infused is infused in the mascot.

About Special Olympics & Special Olympics Bharat
Special Olympics Bharat is a National Sports Federation accredited by Special Olympics Inc. USA, to conduct sports and development programs all over India. Special Olympics is a global inclusion movement using sport, health, education, and leadership programs every day around the world to end discrimination against and empower people with intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics Bharat is recognized by the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, Government of India as a National Sports Federation for the development of Sports for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities. It is incumbent to inform that Special Olympics and Paralympics are separate entities wherein the former reaches out to Persons with Intellectual Disabilities and, the latter to those with physical challenges. SO Bharat has over 1.5 million Athletes registered across all the States and Union Territories of India.

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