Amutha Kannan

Diploma courses to be offered in Special Olympics The courses will initially cater to around 50 candidates involved in the games

COIMBATORE: India has 30 million people who are intellectually disabled.

Nevertheless, only 0.21 million come under the umbrella of Special Olympics International, a non-profit organisation, created to help people with intellectual disabilities develop self-confidence and social skills through sports training.

The organisation held the last Special Olympics at Iowa State, offering 20 disciplines for them to choose from.

Dearth of trainers

Special Olympics Bharat, the national wing of the organisation, is eager to send more participants from India for the next games.

But "the dearth of qualified trainers possessing knowledge of the games, in addition to having a positive attitude to work with intellectually disabled persons," has slowed the progress of sending more participants.

Trainers and volunteers who coach the intellectually disabledhave no formal training.

To fill this vacuum, Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda University, here, will offer diploma and postgraduate diploma courses in Special Olympics, starting April 2007, on its sprawling campus in Perianaickenpalayam.

First of its kind

The first of its kind in the country, the courses will initially cater to around 50 candidates involved in the games.

The courses, to be offered under the aegis of the Faculty of Physical Education, Movement Science and Yoga of the University, will provide both theoretical and practical training to the candidates, Swami Anuragananda, Assistant Administrative Head of the University said.

The successive courses will be open to even those without prior knowledge of the games. The intensive course will cover aspects of the games as well as intellectual disability.

Papers

The candidates will have papers on sports rules, sports psychology, motor activity training, selection procedures and other related topics.

Once they acquire a diploma or PG diploma they will be into full-time Special Olympics training of intellectually disabled people at the university itself, or at any NGO or under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.

Initiative

This initiative of the university, hardly a year-and-a-half old, is expected to fulfil a long-standing need creating trained people to inspire andtrain the intellectually disabled in the 20-odd official games of the organisation.

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