Training in sports

Special Olympics Bharat offers training and competition opportunities in 25 Olympic-style individual and team sports for persons with intellectual disabilities. We organise training and competitions at local, district, state,  national and international levels. The best performers, also referred to as the Selected Probables attend National Coaching Camps supported by the Sports Authority of India to prepare for international competitive events. Over 90% of our registered Athletes have participated in competitions at any of the aforementioned levels.

Alpine Skiing Aquatics Athletics Badminton
Basket Ball Bocce Cricket Cycling
Figure Skating Floor Ball Floor Hockey Football
Kabbadi Kho-kho Power Lifting Net Ball
Roller Skating Snow Boarding Snow Shoeing Soft Ball
Speed Skating Table tennis Team Handball Volley Ball

Special Olympics Bharat conducts  National Coaching Camps every year. These camps are supported by the Sports Authority of India . Each camp gives athletes and coaches the opportunity to be trained in a specific sport. The Coaching Camps enable participants to acquire sport skills matching international standards to face global competitions.


Advanced Coaches Training Programs (ACTP)

The Advanced Coaches Training Programme seeks to create a cadre of national level trainers and provides advance training in various sports disciplines to help coaches train athletes professionally. The programme was launched in 2008, with the support of the Sports Authority of India and International Inspiration, London Olympics 2012’s international sports legacy programme. The first two camps, sponsored by International Inspiration, trained 100 coaches.

Special Olympics Bharat has a large pool of coaches and trainers. Most of them are sportspersons and some are special educators. Like the athletes, the coaches too are selected for bigger roles and greater responsibilities based on their performance and abilities. They undergo constant training to increase their level of sports knowledge and to equip them to cater to our growing number of athletes, as coaches, trainers and physical educators at local levels and in special schools. Special Olympics athletes are also trained as coaches based on their ability, knowledge and performance.


Games Management Training 

A Games Management System (GMS) is designed and executed specifically to address the needs of the organisation for managing large and small scale events, as well as registering and tracking athletes in competition and training.A Games Management System (GMS)training is conducted to impart computer knowledge to the Coaches.  Sample of a GMS entry

Catching ‘em young
We have a special focus on developing young athletes. The Young Athletes programme (YAP) introduces children with intellectual disabilities from the age of two through seven to sports and prepares them for competitions once they turn 8. The programme is solely participation based and there are no competitive events during it.

YAP has been designed to:

  • Focus on physical activities which help develop fundamental motor and tracking skills, and eye-hand coordination
  • Help the child improve her/his concentration on the application of physical activities through sports and develop skills consistent with the Special Olympics Sports Play
  • Increase coordination, strength, social skills and awareness of self-worth
  • Provide the child and the family with access to resources and a network of support

Read more  about Young Athletes


August 2017

Emerging out of her shell- Rekha

Rekha, 12 years , with intellectual disabilities, was neglected by the family and ignored and trivialized by the community because of her disability. She had dropped out of school because of the insensitivity of the society and the incompetence and regressive mentality of the school teachers and authorities. She comes from a very poor family, father is a victim of drug and alcohol abuse, leaving her mother to struggle to earn a living. She works as the Mid Day Meal Cook in the local primary school. Rekha comes to the school to help her mother fetch water for the cooking but does not study. She is ridiculed by all the children of the area and called names by all. The fear of having to hear people call her names prevented her from going out. She was sent to a school but as a result of being unable to grasp and remember her lessons her parents withdrew her from there. In her early childhood she was taken to the doctor, showing signs of delayed milestones, but as she grew her parents succumbed to condition.

Ms. Arpita Mohapatra, YAP Master Trainer, during the course of her visits to the area for the arrangement of the YA Program came across her and took up the matter with her mother who expressed her helplessness in doing something for improving the condition of her daughter as she was uneducated and ignorant. Ms. Mohapatra suggested to bring her to the YA event to be organized in the school premises. While Rekha also took part in the activities, Ms. Mohapatra took the opportunity to sensitize the children and the community members on the rights of the persons with disabilities and announced that rekha, being older than many participants should be respected. All the children took a pledge not to call her names and not to harass her in the future.

Ms. Mohapatra guided the mother of Rekha to Open Learning Systems where Rekha was enrolled in the Centre for Special Education of Children with Intellectual Disability. She is attending the school regularly for the past 15 days. Rekha also started playing bocce with the State Team that is preparing to attend the National Championship to be held in Patna shortly. Rekha understands instructions in her mother tongue and follows them. At the Young Athlete session she assisted Arpita with the activities. Observing her potential, she is being considered to lead the young athlete activities there. At the session she met Sarita, SO Bharat athlete who went for the Austria World Games 2017 who is a Coach assistant.

Knowing about Sarita’s journey through Special Olympics has made Rekha’s  mother immensely happy.  She is relieved and happy that her child has finally got an opportunity to improve her situation

June 2017

Coaches Training – Rajasthan

District Coordinators and Coaches from 8 districts participated in a Training Program held in Chirawa, which concluded with implementation of the program with 20 Athletes. Dr SK took the lead, after having participated at the training program held in Haryana recently .Dr S K Meena is Principal and Associate Professor at the Mahatma Gandhi Occupational Therapy College, Jaipur. His association with SO Bharat goes back to 2011 with a blazing desire to work with persons with Special needs. His passion for volunteering his services to a barrier free sporting culture drove him to conducting a 5 day camp for persons with Special needs in Rajasthan. All logistical arrangements including ambulance services, medicines, along with a team of doctors and nurses were made free of cost

Adding meaning to his inclination to sports he underwent Floorball training at a Camp held in Mumbai in 2014. Following this camp he launched a Coaches training of the sport across three districts in the state of Rajasthan. Prepared to volunteer his services across diverse programs of Special Olympics he participated in the Train the Trainer program held in Hoshiarpur, Punjab in November 2016, in Funfitness

His participation at the IKEA supported Special Olympics Young Athlete program held in Sonipat Haryana in May 2017 ignited a strong interest to take this forward in light of its  wide-ranging impact on the beneficiaries. Running a Centre for Autism, he explicitly expressed how this program would significantly improve joint movements, cognitive levels, colour perception and enhance sensor abilities. During the Camp he was seen practising the drills himself and then helping the Athletes do the same.  “Obstacle jumping would improve eye-hand coordination while the ‘blowing the scarf’ would enhance joint movements”

Dr Meena, also a Clinical Director for Funfitness, plans to strongly recommend adoption of the Young Athletes Program by Occupational Therapists and Psychologists, as he sees its multifarious effects , behaviour modification being one of them.

Tamil Nadu & Jharkhand

Young Athletes Programme @ Tiruvallur District, Tamil Nadu was conducted on June 23, 2017.  Initially athletes were engaged with warm up games like action song “MAZHICHIYAL IRRUNTHAL KAITHATTU” the athletes showed their interest to learn games in the session. Parents also eagerly watched their ward’s involvement. The event kicked off with a small inauguration with prayer. A power point presentation with video clippings and pictures on YAP was screened. The Coaches concluded the session with a few demo games

Three schools in the district of East Singhbhum, Jharkhand introduced the Young Athletes Program in the month of June. The Principals of the schools were present to observe and understand the implementation of the program. The state is looking at approaching the State Govt agencies to assist in expanding it to more districts

May 2017

A training program for Special Olympics Bharat Program Managers, Coaches and the Area Directors was held from 27-29 May 2017 at the Little Angels School, Sonipat, and Haryana.  The program was planned to develop capacity of the States to roll out the IKEA Young Athlete Programme (YAP) in a standardized manner across India. Focus was on the deliverables of each State, implementation methods, timelines, providing guidelines for monitoring and reporting outcomes along with the curriculum and communication procedures to be followed to ensure quality outreach and measure impact. The program was attended by 74 trainees from 22 states. Full Report  



May 2017

April and May were replete with sporting activities in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. 42 Young Athletes participated at a camp conducted in Ananthapura while 48 were seen enjoying and doing the drills amidst colourful equipment and music at Medak in Telangana. Impact surprisingly can be visible even in a single day when you see a parent of a 5 year old Athlete startled by the child attempting to go through the rings, when all hopes of even seeing her crawl have been shattered in the past. This is just what the Young Athlete Camps hold for the parents and guardians



April 2017

The Young Athlete Program was conducted on Saturday, 22 April 2017 in two remote locations of the Hugli district in the state of West Bengal

At Jirat the program took 33 Athletes and 12 Partners, within an age range of 4 and 9 years , through 5 stations of activity. The resource team included 5 Aanganwadi workers, 4 teachers from the local school and 6 SO Bharat Coaches from the district and the State offices at the Jirat Astha Special School which hosted the program. The event saw an approximate attendance of 120 persons including the Headmasters of two local schools. The State Chapter gifted a basic and an advanced kit to enable the activity to be conducted on a weekly basis there.

The other venue for the program was local football grounds of the Sports Association at Kanaipur , which is 57 kms from Kolkata. Out of 63 Athletes with and without Intellectual Disabilities, 22 were Unified Partners. The Local Panchayat Pradhan was the Chief Guest at the function which was also attended by the local club members amongst 90 persons in attendance. The event drew support from the local Britannica Depot and the Mother Dairy  plant who served juice , biscuit packs and curd to all the participants.

The Young Athlete kit comprising a basic and an advanced kit was presented by the State Chapter at both venues to ensure conduct of the program on a weekly basis . the Chief Guests were presented with folders containing a curriculum and an activity book each.

Become a Special Olympics athelete.