State Education Department supports Special Olympics

COURTESY CALL: State Education Department Director, Abdillah Adam (centre) and his officials posing for a group photo with president of Special Olympics of Kuching chapter, Datin Dayang Mariani Abang Zain during the recent courtesy visit to his visit. Also present were (from left) Abdul Hamid Adenan, Vendery Milah Nata and Special Olympics Kuching secretary, Sanfa Guel (extreme right)

KUCHING: State Education Department may set up a working committee to look into ways on how to support the development of Special Olympics athletes and their coaches.

This was mentioned by State Education Director, Abdillah Adam during the recent visit by president of Special Olympics Kuching chapter, Datin Dayang Mariani Abang Zain.

“We will do our best to help out and perhaps we may set up a committee to look into this,” he said.

According to him, the department had always supported the development of sports and games among special athletes who are still schooling with the pool of coaches normally consist of their own teachers.

He said the department had always keep track on schools with students who are physically and intellectually challenged but are active in sports and games.

Sarawak, according to him, has a lot of special athletes who are still schooling and they had helped to make the state a sports powerhouse such as in the Paralympics.

Meanwhile, Mariani informed Abdillah that local athletes had represented Malaysia at international level competitions and they need the support from Education Department on many aspects.

“Most of our athletes are students and their coaches are also their teachers…they need the support and encouragement from the State Education Department to stay on as well as to go further,” she enthused.

“We need the help from the department in terms of giving the green light to relevant school authorities to allow students and their teachers from special education classes to join us in Special Olympics,” she added.

According to her, the club needs more teachers to become volunteer coaches who can train and groom the athletes to participate in future local, national and international events.

Mariani announced that Special Olympics of Kuching is aiming to train and groom its athletes for the coming 2015 Special Olympics Summer Games to be held in Los Angeles, USA.

“We have high hopes for our athletes to compete in tennis, aquatics and possibly in athletics for the coming 2015 LA Games but they need to be well trained first,” she said.

On that note, Mariani said the club is planning to have more volunteer coaches who can help in training and grooming of special athletes.

Early this year, Special Olympics of Kuching had gained the support from Sarawak Lawn Tennis Association (SLTA) to use its facilities to train the 2015 LA Games bound athletes.

But the club had told SLTA that local tennis coaches would have to undergo a short workshop on how to discharge their duties among athletes who are intellectually challenge.

The coaching approach towards the target group is different and coaches must be certified by Special Olympics before they can start working with the special athletes.

In that respect, Special Olympics of Kuching is planning to organise a “Volunteer Coaches Workshop” soon and is open to those interested in working with the special athletes.

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