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.

The Mission Statement of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.

The Official Special Olympics Sports Rules (“Sports Rules”) provide standards for Special Olympics training and competition. Article I provides general principles established by the Special Olympics Official General Rules (“General Rules”) that are not found in the sport-specific rules. In case of any conflict between the Sports Rules and the General Rules, the General Rules shall govern.  Article 1 of the General Rules

Alpine Skiing Aquatics Diving Aquatics Open Water Aquatics  Athletics
Badminton Basket Ball Beach Volley Ball Bocce Bowling
Cricket Cycling Cross Country Skiing Equestrian Figure Skating
Floor Ball Floor Hockey Football 11-a-side Football 5-a-side Football 7-a-side
Futsal 5-a-side Golf Gymnastics Artistic Gymnastics Rhythmic Handball
Ice Speed Skating Judo Kayaking Kabaddi Kho-kho
Motor Activity Training Program Netball Powerlifting Roller Skating Roller Skating Artistic
Sailing Short Track Speed Skating Snow Boarding Snow Shoeing Softball
Table Tennis Tennis Triathlon Unified Sports (all) Volley Ball


20-27 July 2019

SO Asia Pacifc and SO East Asia jointly introduced the Asian Football Week in partnership with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) focused on raising awareness for creating social change through football. In India the states planned on relevant football engagements that was enthusiastically carried out through the week .Amongst over 3000 persons who attended various football events all over India, over 1000 Athletes and 300 Unified partners participated in the trainings and matches. Complete Report

Special Olympics Bharat conducts  National Coaching Camps every year. These camps are supported by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and 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.

Proposal Summary ACTC 2019-20

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Proposed Annual Calendar For Training and Competition 2019-2020 (Approval from the Competent Authority is awaited)

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Proposed National Championship 2019-20 (Approval from the Competent Authority is awaited)

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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.

An annual  meeting is held at the Ministry under the Chairmanship of the Secretary of Sports to consider the ACTC request and the budget . Minutes of the ACTC meeting held for the year 2019-20 are:  Minutes



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


Family Brochure 

Young Athletes 2017-August 2019




December 2019

This is a school where all the students learn to only recognize different abilities. There is no DIS- ability. They grow, learn and play and most of all support each other. Prerana is a School for the under-privileged and children with disabilities run by the North Bengal Council for the Disabled (NBCD). Here it is not unusual to see a child with ID help a child with severe mobility restrictions. The School is located in Salugara, at the outskirt of the Siliguri Town in North Bengal, on the banks of the Mahananda River at the foothills of the Himalayas.



Adding colour and fun to the learning process in this Centre is none other than Vivek Kumar Singh ,43 yrs, a Coach associated with SO Bharat since 2011. Vivek is visually impaired. In July 2019 when he re-located himself from Jamshedpur (Jharkhand) to Siliguri (West Bengal) the children at Prerana were learning but there was something missing. He decided to introduce the Young Athlete program. He trained the faculty and introduced the YA kit to them talking explicitly about the Activity Guide and the 8 Week YA curriculum.

 On its execution he felt that there were quite a few children who sat and watched because they did not fit the age criterion. He decided to have them all join in. ALL TOGETHER. He even invited the mainstream schools nearby to join the students of Prerana in the YA drills where he is assisted by RajKumar , his co-coach and a great friend from Siliguri.  The sessions happen thrice a week with about 20 students attending each session. The model is so successful that 5-6 family members have also joined in to assist these sessions and recently even underwent a Coaches training held in the city as they want to be part of the larger Sports program as well.

The whole picture would fall short in spirit if the dynamism of Vivek is not highlighted. He carries the Coaches training he underwent (at Gwalior, supported by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports) deep in his heart. That drove him to facilitate participation of the SSA (Sarva Shiksha Abhyan) in Jamshedpur in 2013-14, and also  in drafting the Rehab project supported by TATA  along with conducting two district games. At the State level Khelo India Games held recently , he introduced Bocce which he plans to conduct next year.

September 2019

International Conference for Early Development of Persons With Intellectual Disabilities About


April 2018

Ankit stood right outside his village, as the bus arrived to personally greet his guests, shaking hands with each and every one with a calm smile which never left his face throughout their visit. It is he and his family which the Ikea Iwitness team from Taiwan planned to visit and interact with.

Ankit, 7yrs, stays in a 10x10ft room with his two elder siblings and parents in the Village Karondha, Rohtak, Haryana. His mother is physically challenged, having folded legs while his father has Intellectual disabilities. While his two older siblings do not have Intellectual Challenges, Ankit manifested setbacks in his milestones, observed by his mother when he was around three years. He did not speak and later could not study. His concentration was limited. His mother got him examined by a doctor who told her, ‘he will not be able to study like other children’, although Ankit does speak now.

His parents could think of nothing to do in this situation as they belong to an extremely underprivileged background struggling to maintain a level of sustenance on a daily basis. Their food comes from the agricultural fields tilled by them for others and from charity received. His father earns through washing utensils or cleaning at functions, as he finds it difficult to do any other job which requires more comprehension. And this too happens 2-3 times in 5-6 months. Their earning could be INR600 in 5-6 months.

Ankit , in his early years had behavioural problems and often would get physical with children in his neighbourhood. To avenge his clashes, his mother, Saroj, was beaten up a few times by the neighbours. About two years back Ankit was identified by the Chetanalaya Society. He has been going regularly to the school. He has been regularly attending the Young Athletes sessions there. Saroj is happy that his son is meaningfully occupied and comes back home happy

Chetanalaya Vishesh Gurukulreaching the rustic depths of Haryana

 With no direct access through a tarred road; driving over small hills of dust and sand is where the Chetanalaya Vishesh Gurukul lies; even walking from the bus to the centre is rather laborious. Chetanalaya is an NGO under the Christain Missionaries, working across 16 different fields like gender Equality, women Empowerment, Disability etc. Through its association with SO Bharat nearly 10 yrs old, it’s students, Ritu and Sunil, have participated in the Special Olympics World Games in the past. Both currently, assist the Principal in running the NGO, Ms Sunita who is often seeing carrying out work related with the NGO herself, including managing the Kitchen.

Chetanalaya was recently allotted space by the local authorities , which has enabled the organization to conduct the Young Athletes sessions with regularity. Seeing the enthusiastic response it has scheduled a 30 min- session every day along with a weekly visit to an Aanganwadi visit nearby. The special students from the school visit the Balmiki Aanganwadi  to participate alongside children of the surrounding areas also encouraging more children with intellectual disabilities to be identified. In a detailed discussion with the women at the Aanganwadi, it was heartening to conclude their strong support to sports, an attribute which can be described as the character of the state of Haryana. Seeing the YA activities they intensely supported carrying out these activities which would also keep the menfolk as well as the youth involved in its conduct.

The activities will be conducted through the team at Chetanalaya

The Chetanalaya Society  (CS) itself manifests a history of perseverance, commitment and faith. Ms Sunita completed a course in Special Education in the year 2002. She applied for jobs but found a few quite far from her residence. She began to work on a stipend at the Chetanalaya Society , which was within her vicinity. She and her husband, both started with 3 students who they identified as Special Children in their locality. The teaching was done in a small space taken in the premises of a temple where they stood while the children squatted on a piece of rag

One of these three students had his father serving the Border Security Force (BSF). He never paid much heed to his son with disabilities. However, on return from his work assignment 5-6 months later, he observed a significant change in his child. So proud was he that he made his son sit on his shoulders and walked all around the village.He asked Sunita how he could help. She asked for a table and 4-5 chairs, which she received promptly.

CS began to build bit by bit with the help of the community. Each time an article was required even if it costed as little as Rs 5 , they put the requirement outside on a slate for anyone to consider support.

The demands were miniscule and struck a bond ,as it was easy on the pocket of the giver and very much required by CS.  Word spread and the number of students increased. Even on a stipend of Rs 1200, Sunita employed an assistant for Rs 600 out of her salary as she was conscious of extending quality services.

Thus built up the Chetanalaya Society which now has 137 students and has provided Community based rehabilitation to over 1000 children.

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.

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

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.