Between May 13 and 18, almost 1,000 athletes from 25 different countries will be travelling to Malta to take part in the first ever Special Olympics Invitational Games.
In a Business Breakfast held at the Cottonera Sport Complex, Dr Lydia Abela, the president of Special Olympics Malta, said that this event is the start-up of 2022 and it will lead us to the run up towards the Games.
Dr Abela thanked the dedicated organising committee for the energy and effort they are putting for the Games to be a success.
She thanked also the associations for their involvement not only in the games but it their work with young adults and kids over the years.
Dr Abela said she is proud to lead this team and she is sure that in May, Malta will be centre of sport and inclusivity.
SportMalta CEO, Mark Cutajar, said that SportMalta are proud partners of the Games.
“The entity will invest over two million euros in infrastructural projects for the games and beyond,” he said.
“Works are being done at the University Sport Hall, National Pool complex whist the Matthew Micallef St John athletics track will be transformed to a state of the art arena.”
Cutajar thanked Anna Calleja who facilitated the path for the Special Olympics movement in Malta to expand.
Oliver Scicluna, the organising committee chairperson, highlighted the works being done and said that these Games will be remarkable appointment in Maltese sporting history.
Minister for Education and Sport Clifton Grima spoke about the link between this sporting event and education.
He thanked all the associations involved in this sports festival and asked them to join this movement for the Games to be successful.
Minister for Inclusion Julia Farrugia Portelli spoke about the inclusivity and unity. She said that Malta should look at these Games as a departure of a journey that will lead these athletes to be part of the main stream family in the years to come.
The Special Olympics President of Eurasia, David Evangelista, explained how impressed and pleased he was with the work being done by several volunteers who have joined Special Olympics to ensure that these games are a celebration of inclusivity in Malta.
He thanked Prime Minister Robert Abela and his cabinet for the support given to the Games.
During these Games, there will be six different sports disciplines, which will take place in the facilities of SportMalta in Marsa, Tal-Qroqq and the Eden Super Bowl.
These are athletics, bowling, table-tennis, swimming, bocce and football.
Director of Special Olympics Christabelle D’Amato gave more details of these events and invited the associations to join forces in these five months for the games to be a high-level sporting event.
D’Amato highlighted the different activities which will be part and parcel of these games, including a forum on inclusion and a unified waterpolo demonstration game.
Colonel Mark Mallia explained that the committee is very busy working on several aspects.
He mentioned that the opening ceremony will be held in Valletta and this will surely be a memorable experience for the participants and spectators.
Mallia said that the committee is also taking in consideration the present pandemic situation and is prepared for all circumstances. Works on facilities, accommodation, logistics, transport and volunteering are also being tackled to detail.
Mallia thanked all those involved and called for volunteers who are vital for the success of this event.