16 Sarawak, Sabah athletes for Special Winter Olympic Games

SPECIAL OLYMPIANS: Liza (right) and officials with some of the floor hockey athletes.

MIRI: Kuching and Miri athletes will spearhead Malaysia’s challenge in floor hockey at the Special Winter Olympics to be held at Pyeongchang, South Korea from Jan 29 to Feb 5 2013.

The 14 selected athletes from Kuching, Bau and Miri include students from special education classes (PKKI) of SMK Demak Baru, Diplomatik Road.

Chef de mission Liza Chai said this will be Malaysia’s second appearance in the floor hockey competition.

“The first time Malaysia competed in floor hockey was at the Special Olympics World Games in Idaho, USA in 2009 where we won the silver medal.

This time around we will try to do our very best to compete with the other top teams. Our target is of course the gold medal,” said Liza to The Borneo Post yesterday.

Liza, who is also the chairman for the Sunflower Centre Miri, said two athletes from Sabah will also be competing for the first time in snow shoeing.

The team accompanied by six officials and coaches will leave Miri on 25 Jan and be back in Miri on 7 Feb.

More than 2,300 athletes from over 110 nations will be competing in the week-long 2013 Special Olympic Winter Games.

The event will also welcome an array of dignitaries, sports legends, celebrities and corporate leaders to witness the inspiring power of sports to unite people with and without intellectual disabilities.

They include H.E. Joyce Banda, President, Republic of Malawi; Cherie Blair, Chancellor, Asian University for Women; Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi; and actress Zhang Ziyi.

Sports legends like Bart Conner, Toby Dawson, Donna DeVarona and Michelle Kwan are also among the notable names from around the world who are scheduled to attend.

The Special Olympics, held once every four years, is the world’s largest sports organisation for adults and children with intellectual disabilities.

It seeks to change lives by encouraging and empowering people with intellectual disabilities, promoting acceptance for all, and fostering communities of understanding and mutual respect worldwide.

The organisation also provides year-round training and activities to over 4 million athletes in 170 countries including Malaysia.

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