The meeting was attended by the Aide to the President of the Russian Federation Igor Levitin, President of the Republic of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov, Advisor to the President of the Russian Federation, Chairman of the Presidential Commission for the Disabled Alexandra Levitskaya, Deputy Minister of Sport of the Russian Federation Marina Tomilova, Presidential Commissioner for Children’s Rights Anna Kuznetsova, President of Special Olympics Russia Olga Slutsker, heads of federal ministries, executive authorities of the Russian Federation subjects, representatives of public organizations.
The meeting attendees discussed the preparation process for the Games that comprises the security issues, competitions visual identity, and logo. Furthermore, the Concept of the Special Olympics World Winter Games 2022 legacy, the issues of creating new opportunities for social adaptation of people with disabilities, reshaping the attitudes towards them in our country and the world were taken into consideration.
Having joined in the meeting via video conferencing from Kazan, the Aide to the President of the Russian Federation Igor Levitin recalled that it was exactly a year ago, on February 11, when the Russian President Vladimir Putin had approved of hosting Special Olympics World Winter Games Kazan 2022. “Our country has not previously staged such competitions among the people with intellectual disabilities. It is essential to leave the Games legacy to adapt the lives of people with disabilities in the sports field. It is also required to concentrate on fostering the specialists in this area, to put in place educational activities. Our work should be visible to the State Council Commission on Social Policy. We want to draw attention of all governors to the way the Games legacy can be used in the regions.”
In his speech, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko pointed out that next year Russia, Kazan would catch the public eye in terms of addressing the issues of support and social adaptation of people with developmental disabilities. “Our country has been entitled to hosting such unique sports competitions. This verifies the openness of Russia and our readiness to create the necessary environment for comprehensive support for people with special needs, both in the fields of play and everyday life. Such people are already winners and the world should see this, so we lay emphasis on media support of the tournament. Special Olympics participants prove that a person with disabilities can fully adapt to an independent life with the support of society. Our goal is to deliver the Games at a high organizational level, ensuring the guests’ and participants’ comfort and safety.”
Moreover, Dmitry Chernyshenko focused on Tatarstan’s vast experience in organizing and successfully hosting major international tournaments, including the existence of highly qualified staff, numerous effective volunteer projects, and respective infrastructure.
In his welcoming speech, the Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov thanked the President and the Government of Russia for the unique opportunity to host Special Olympics Winter Games in Kazan. He reported that preparations for international competitions were underway on a scheduled basis. Rustam Minnikhanov: “We will offer the participants and guests the outstanding sports facilities, well-developed infrastructure and certainly our most famous asset, which is hospitality and kindliness. We may ensure that Tatarstan will do its best to host Special Olympics World Winter Games at the top level. The competitions will provide a launch pad for the formation of an inclusive culture and social equity, they will make the society attentive to the needs of people with limited mobility and intellectual disabilities.”
“The Games in Kazan are promising to become a remarkable international sports and at the same time humanitarian event bringing the world community to Kazan and make sure that the Special Olympics athletes are known all over the world,” said Olga Slutsker, President of Special Olympics Russia. In the course of her report, she unveiled the logo of the Special Olympics World Winter Games and made the announcement of its presentation scheduled for the same day in a projection show format on the Kazan Kremlin walls.
Marina Tomilova, Deputy Minister of Sport: “Our country accounts for 128 thousand people with intellectual disabilities doing sports, for whom over 4.9 thousand physical education events are held annually at the Special Olympics municipal, regional and national levels. As of today, there are regional offices in 62 regions of Russia. The most successful work under the Special Olympics program is being implemented in Saint Petersburg, Republic of Tatarstan, Sverdlovsk, Chelyabinsk, Vladimir, and Smolensk regions.”
Special Olympics World Winter Games 2022 will be held in Kazan on January 22-28. The Games are expected to bring together 3,023 delegations members (athletes, unified partners, coaches, and officials) from 107 countries, 1,090 honored guests, 2,000 family members, and up to 1,000 media representatives. Seven sports make up the Games program: alpine skiing, cross country skiing, figure skating, snowboarding, snowshoeing, short track speed skating, and floorball.
On February 3-8, Kazan is hosting Special Olympics Russian Winter Invitational Games that come as a test competition leading up to the Games 2022. Their delivery will allow for scanning the readiness of the Tatarstan capital for the upcoming international event. Moreover, the Invitational Games are a qualifying tournament for the formation of the Russian national team for the Games 2022.
The Games 2022 legacy will encompass the launch of new Special Olympics sections and groups, which will engage at least 200,000 people with intellectual disabilities in physical education by 2025. It is intended to establish a scientific and educational center for the Special Olympics movement staff training. The Games will generally draw public attention to the problems of people with intellectual disabilities, which will enable changing stereotypes and overcoming barriers that have historically existed between society and the aforementioned people.
Source: Ministry of Sport of the Russian Federation
Photo credit by Press Office of the Tatarstan President