BHUBANESWAR: Indian Super League franchise Odisha FC and Special Olympics Bharat have collaborated for promoting the initiative of inclusiveness in sports via football.
Prakash Rath, area director, SO Bharat - Odisha and Aakash Narula, head, Football Development, Odisha FC, were present to kick-start the one-year partnership through an interactive session that took place at Hi-Tech Medical College and Hospital Ground here on Wednesday.
A total of 190 athletes, coaches and partners from SO Bharat and two coaches and three officials from OFC exchanged experiences and exclusive models of the game followed by a football drill session where SO Bharat coaches explained the unified model to Odisha FC.
The Mission of Special Olympics is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of sports for people with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts.
Through the partnership, the Odisha FC players and coaches are slated to regularly engage with the athletes of SO Bharat for training sessions and unified football engagements. Similarly, the SO Bharat staff and coaches will impart sensitization training with the grassroots coaches.
On the occasion, Rath said: "We are extremely honoured to associate with Odisha FC to promote inclusiveness in sports. Odisha FC has made an instant connect with the football fans in their first ISL season this year and therefore we are looking forward to creating awareness together towards unified sports and spread joy to all the specially-abled athletes of the country."
Narula stated: "The Special Olympics Bharat have carried out some incredible work over the years to help specially-abled children grow and evolve through sports. Football is a game for everyone on this planet and we couldn't be happier to promote inclusiveness through a continued association with Special Olympics Bharat."
Air Marshal Denzil Keelor, founder and CEO, SO Bharat said: "It's a very happy moment for us to be associating with the Odisha FC. Football is a popular game which provides an enormous platform for Inclusion and it's our privilege to be promoting the initiative with a fantastic ISL team. We hope for a long and fruitful partnership with Odisha FC."