The event was attended by Chief Executive Officer of Special Olympics Mary Davis, First Deputy Minister of Sport of Russia Azat Kadyrov, President of the Republic of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov, Regional President and Managing Director of Special Olympics in Europe and Eurasia David Evangelista, Senior Director Global Sponsorships Strategy at The Coca-Cola Company Mickael Vinet, President of Special Olympics Russia Olga Slutsker, General Director of Coca-Cola HBC Russia Aleksandar Ruzhevich, Minister of Sports of the Republic of Tatarstan Vladimir Leonov, Mayor of Kazan Ilsur Metshin, Director General of the Directorate for Sports and Social Projects Maksim Denisov, Special Olympics athlete, Champion of Russia in Athletics, Champion of Russia in Snowshoeing Ksenia Byakhova. The meeting was held through video conferencing.
Rustam Minnikhanov greeted the organisers and partners of the upcoming Games. “Over the past decade, Tatarstan has made a huge leap forward in the development of sports infrastructure. Today Kazan is a city that can host the largest international competitions. Of course, participation of business structures in the implementation of such a socially significant project as the Special Olympic World Winter Games is important. It is gratifying that this project is planned to be supported by large international companies that have proven themselves at the 2013 Universiade, the 2015 FINA World Championships and WorldSkills 2019. The Special Olympics World Winter Games organisers are interested in your services. I am confident that the experience and professionalism of The Coca-Cola Company will make the Games bright and unforgettable,” the President of the Republic of Tatarstan said.
Regional President and Managing Director of Special Olympics in Europe and Eurasia David Evangelista noted that Special Olympics Europe and Eurasia is delighted that Coca-Cola Russia has become a key partner for the 2022 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Kazan. “Coca-Cola Russia has long played a leading role in creating a more open world for people with any physical, mental and sensory disabilities. The Games in Kazan promise to become a significant international sporting and, at the same time, humanitarian event that will attract the world community to Kazan and make sure that the Special Olympics athletes are known all over the world. It is a great honour for us that Coca-Cola Russia has joined us again to fulfil this important mission,” he said.
According to Olga Slutsker, President of Special Olympics Russia, this prestigious and extremely important event will provide an opportunity to show that Russia has always been, and remains, in the top league of the world sports movement and is capable of hosting major international competitions at the highest level. “Russia has become the host of perhaps the most humanistic competitions in the world, which give people with intellectual disabilities an opportunity to socialise and feel like a part of a large sports family. The development of an inclusive culture is the main goal of Special Olympics,” she added.
Mickael Vinet, Senior Director Global Sponsorships Strategy at The Coca-Cola Company, said: “We are proud of our half-century partnership with Special Olympics and are particularly excited to continue our partnership now that the values we share are more important than ever. One of the strategic goals of the partnership is not only to develop an inclusive society, but also to create employment opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities.”
He shared the experience of Coca-Cola Russia in promoting programmes aimed at supporting people with intellectual disabilities. The company has previously opened inclusive parks available free of charge to everyone, regardless of physical, mental or sensory background, and launched the unified leadership programme to promote inclusive sports in partnership with Special Olympics. “As part of the Summer Universiade in Kazan, Coca-Cola implemented a sports programme for people with disabilities and organised football and hockey unified matches as part of other major international sports events – the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia™ and the 2019 Winter Universiade in Krasnoyarsk. The experience gained will allow us to hold a truly unforgettable sports event in Kazan,” said Mickael Vinet.
Aleksandar Ruzhevich, General Director of Coca-Cola HBC Russia, said: “Russia is hosting the Special Olympics Games for the first time, and this is a very important step for the development of an inclusive society. The unified matches that we held in different cities of the country showed that people with mental and physical developmental disabilities can participate in large sports events and be integrated into everyday life on an equal basis with everyone. We will definitely continue to support initiatives related to the development of an inclusive society in Russia.”
Ksenia Byakhova also greeted the meeting participants: “I am very happy to participate in the Special Olympics competitions. I like to play sports and communicate with other guys. I look forward to the 2022 Special Olympics World Games in Kazan, when we can host athletes from all over the world and celebrate victory together with Coca-Cola!”
We would like to remind you that 2,000 athletes and unified partners (athletes without intellectual disabilities) from 108 countries are expected to take part in the Special Olympics World Winter Games. Test games with the participation of Russian athletes will be held in Kazan in February 2021.
Founded in the USA in 1968, Special Olympics is an international movement aimed at terminating discrimination of people with intellectual disabilities. It promotes inclusion of all people by developing sports and creating programmes in the areas of education, health, and leadership. Every year the Special Olympic movement organises over 100,000 games and competitions in more than 30 Olympic disciplines and unites more than 6 million athletes and unified partners and more than half a million coaches and volunteers in over 190 countries and territories.
Special Olympics Russia was founded in 1999 and is one of the largest national programmes within the worldwide movement. It brings together approximately 130,000 athletes that take part in various competitions around the country. Within the programme of the Special Olympics, about 5 thousand sporting events are held annually at the municipal, regional, and national levels. Currently, there are regional offices in 62 regions of Russia. One of the key goals of the Winter Games will be to increase the number of athletes with intellectual disabilities involved in the event. The target number is 200,000 people by 2025.
Coca-Cola Russia, which unites Coca-Cola Soft Drink Consulting LLC, Coca-Cola HBC Eurasia LLC and Multon JSC, is one of the leaders in the production of high-quality soft drinks and one of the largest investors in the Russian economy. Over the entire period of its presence in Russia, Coca-Cola Russia has invested more than 6.2 billion US dollars in the country's socio-economic development.
Coca-Cola Russia provides jobs for more than 7,000 highly skilled workers and creates more than 60,000 additional jobs in related industries.
In Russia, the product line includes high-quality soft drinks: Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola Zero, Coca-Cola Cherry, Coca-Cola Vanilla, Coca-Cola Energy, Fanta, Sprite, Powerade, BonAqua, AdeZ, Schweppes, Innocent, Dobry, Rich, Moya Semya, Dobry Pulpy, FUZE TEA and Costa Coffee.
Coca-Cola Russia implements a socially responsible policy and is proud to be an integral part of Russian life and an active participant in the country's economic development.
Press Office of Directorate for Sports and Social Projects
Source: Press Office of President of Republic of Tatarstan