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Inspire Institute of Sport celebrates Olympic Day with Young Athletes from Special Olympics Bharat

 To celebrate the occasion of Olympic Day, a group of 22 young Athletes (between ages 2 and 7 yrs) from Special Olympics Bharat were invited to visit the Inspire Institute of Sport in Ballari, Karnataka.

The students, who are from Saadhya and Tamanna Residential Schools for the Specially-abled in Ballari, Karnataka, were given a special tour of the world class sports facility and had a good interactive session with the athletes residing in the insititute as well.

“We are very excited to host the children from the Young Athletes Program on the occasion of celebrating Olympic Day. Special Olympics Bharat and IKEA Foundation are working brilliantly to ensure that children with intellectual disabilities receive well rounded sports training. I hope the interaction for these children with our athletes at IIS and a visit to our facility will create a sense of aspiration in them to further pursue sports. This was one of the most meaningful ways for us here at IIS to celebrate sports and promote inclusion.” said, Rushdee Warley, CEO, Inspire Institute of Sport.

Being India’s first privately funded high-performance training centre, the Inspire Institute of Sport is the hub for all aspiring Olympic athletes of the country. Some of these athletes gave a tour to the Special Olympics Bharat children of the sprawling campus and training facilities across wrestling, judo, boxing, athletics and swimming. Asian Games Triple Jump Gold medalist Arpinder Singh and the Haryana Steelers Kabaddi team, who are training at IIS ahead of the upcoming season also joined the celebrations and handed out presents to the young athletes.

“It has been such a phenomenal experience of conducting the Special Olympics Young Athletes program supported by the IKEA Foundation and witnessing children with intellectual disabilities enjoy and grow through the world of sports. Celebrating the day through touring such incredible sports infrastructure with the professional athletes at the IIS gives our young athletes an amazing opportunity to dream big. We are ever grateful to the Inspire Institute of Sport to have invited us for this wonderful celebration.” - Arathi K.T, Vice President, Special Olympics Bharat, Karnataka.

The Special Olympics’ Young Athletes Program (YAP) supported by the IKEA Foundation focuses on promoting inclusion and the development of children with intellectual disabilities through sports and play. The program helps young children with intellectual disabilities have a meaningful impact on their social, cognitive, psychological and physical development via sports.

In November 2016 the IKEA Foundation announced its collaboration with Special Olympics Inc to fund the Young Athlete program as part of their ‘Let’s Play for Change’ Campaign. In 2017, IKEA Foundation joined hands with Special Olympics Bharat to strengthen their focus on the program that concentrates on developing children with Intellectual Disability through play, introducing and preparing children in the age group of 2-7 years to sports while also offering their families an opportunity to learn about their child’s ability through inclusive play.

The IKEA Foundation (Stichting INGKA Foundation) is the philanthropic arm of INGKA Foundation, the owner of the IKEA Group of companies. We aim to improve opportunities for children and youth in some of the world’s poorest communities by funding holistic, long-term programmes that can create substantial, lasting change. The IKEA Foundation works with strong strategic partners applying innovative approaches to achieve large-scale results in four fundamental areas of a child’s life: a place to call home; a healthy start in life; a quality education; and a sustainable family income, while helping these communities fight and cope with climate change.

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