As the COVID situation remained uncertain in the first quarter of 2021, Special Olympics Pakistan's Coaches kicked off regular Cycling engagement for Athletes with intellectual disability in an open and safe public space.
Our team organized weekly Cycling training for four months followed by a Cycling Competition in March with the help of coaches and volunteers.
The cycling activity provided our Athletes with an opportunity to not only develop their riding skills but also enhance their exposure to the mainstream community.
We are thankful to the donors for supporting sporting activities for the children and adults with intellectual disabilities throughout the last year.
We look forward to commencing a Cycling Development Camp for female children and adults with intellectual disabilities in the coming months.
An athlete practicing Basketball with her brother.
Although the second quarter of the year saw a lot of challenges due to the COVID-19 chaos, our dedicated staff and coaches worked together to find ways and tools to digitize Special Olympics Pakistan's Sports program as much as possible.
Thanks to the mainstreaming of virtual modes of communication, we were able to conduct training of coaches and also develop educational resources for them, as it was planned. The coaches can use these resources not only during the pandemic for online training of our special needs athletes but also once the situation gets better and the training resumes on the pitch.
We have also started a flexible home-based training program for athletes to make sure that their progress in sports doesn't reverse and they stay fit and active during their stay at homes. The sports in which we have started home-based training in individual skills are Basketball, Athletics, and Fitness. Our expert coaches have also trained and guided parents and siblings as part of the home-based training program so they can effectively play their roles as a home coach to their children.
We are making sure our special needs athletes get the necessary minimum equipment to better their sports skills under the instructions provided by their coach and are following a healthy diet plan under the supervision of their parents and caretakers. We are very hopeful that the home-based training program will help these athletes to come all geared up and fit once they would return to the field.
We trained special needs children for the basics skills of Track Sports in February at two different venues in Karachi. These children include those with Down Syndrome, Slow learners, and Autism.
During the first day of training, the children looked clueless and nervous on the field. But our coaches took the challenge well and worked hard on making the athletes familiar with the training environment.
These children were getting trained four days a week. In the month of February, the athletes learned how to do basic warm-up exercises before the training and practised the basic techniques of sprinting.
We also provided a platform for children with severe intellectual disabilities including those with Cerebral Palsy to participate in Wheelchair races and low-ability sports.
The races helped us identify athletes with Cerebral Palsy whose fine motor skills need structured training so they can develop the ability to transit to sports.
We are thankful to our donors around the world helping the special needs athletes play and develop their sports skills.
The next step is to start training camps of low-ability track events, including Wheelchair races, and other low-ability sports such as Bocce to cater to the athletes with low-ability level. For that, we would require higher coach/ athletes ratio and appropriate indoor venues, and thus resources to train more coaches across the city.
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