The Walt Disney Company, ESPN and Special Olympics announced a two-year global initiative, starting September 2013, to leverage the power of sports to promote an environment of social inclusion and acceptance, by uniting people with and without intellectual disabilities through the Special Olympics Unified Sports Program. Unified Sports activities in India assumed a position of central importance through this partnership, making it part of Strategy Growth.
As part of this partnership, a host of countries including the India received a grant to strengthen Unified Sports around the world. The partnership continues to support Sports in India, expanding to include more initiatives to promote Inclusion
Flexing to the New normal, a Virtual Cricket Competition was held from 18 May to 19 June 2021 witnessing teams of 8 Athletes from each of the participating 15 States. Conceptualized by the Sports department of SO Bharat with Mr Victor R Vaz the National Sports Director, the complete event was refereed by a Panel which included sports experts from different states of India. The Athletes with an overwhelming support of their family members executed all the four tasks in innovative set ups within and around their homes. Every session upheld the enormous amount of work that went on for days preceding it and involving the passionate State officials, staff and the family members as well.
Funded by ESPN, the event replaced the in-person competition that was originally slated to be held in Mysore in early 2020 but was deferred due to the pandemic. SOI and ESPN entered a partnership in 2013 that continues to strengthen Sports to promote Inclusion, in India along with other National Special Olympics programs around the world as well
Champion Stories from each of the participating States HERE