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NATIONAL HEROES: Special Olympics athletes return home with 22 gold, 20 silver, 7 bronze medals

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THE 2023 Special Olympics South Africa National Team has returned home to a hero’s welcome after an extraordinary performance at the Special Olympics World Games in Berlin, Germany. The team amassed an awe-inspiring medal tally of 22 Gold, 20 Silver, and 7 Bronze medals, placing them among the top contenders and reinforcing their status as true champions. 

This remarkable achievement holds great significance for South Africa, as it exemplifies the extraordinary talent, determination, and resilience of individuals with intellectual disabilities. The Special Olympics South Africa National Team has shattered barriers, defied expectations, and emerged as a beacon of inspiration for the entire nation.

A number of Ministries were represented at the event to share their congratulations with the team. These included the Minister of Women, Youth, and Persons with Disabilities, Dr Nkosazana Dlamimi Zulu, the Deputy Minister of Sports, Arts, and Culture, Ms Nocawe Mafu and the the Deputy Minister of Social Development Ms Hendrietta Bogopane Zulu.

The Minister of Women, Youth, and Persons with Disabilities, Dr Nkosazana Dlamimi Zulu, announced to an excited Special Olympics National Team that they would be received by President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Union Buildings. 

Special Olympics South Africa chairperson, Dr Mathews Phosa, expressed profound pride in the team’s remarkable success. He said, “Our athletes’ remarkable achievements have ignited a sense of pride and unity throughout South Africa. By showcasing their abilities, they have shattered misconceptions surrounding intellectual disabilities and fostered a more inclusive society. This outstanding medal tally not only celebrates their sporting achievements but also serves as a powerful symbol of hope and inspiration for millions of individuals with intellectual disabilities across our nation.”

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The success of the Special Olympics South Africa National Team serves as a testament to the commitment and dedication of the athletes, coaches, families, and the entire support system. Their accomplishments at the Special Olympics World Games represent a triumph of the human spirit and exemplify the values of determination, courage, and excellence.

The achievements of these remarkable athletes go beyond the medal count. They are a testament to the transformative power of sports and the positive impact it has on individuals and communities. Through their accomplishments, the Special Olympics South Africa National Team has sparked conversations that challenged societal perceptions, and paved the way for greater inclusivity and acceptance.

Special Olympics South Africa is committed to creating opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities to showcase their abilities, promote inclusion, and advocate for a more inclusive society. Through the power of sports, they continue to break barriers, challenge stereotypes, and provide a platform for individuals to reach their full potential.

The Special Olympics South African National Team tour to Berlin was sponsored by the National Lotteries Commission, the National Department of Sport, Arts and Culture, African Bank, Phosa Legacy, Sole Agents, the Booth Foundation, Stabus, the Duma Collective, Sedgars, On Point PR, Total Exposure, Stadium Sports, Gift of the Givers, Intercape, Studio 88, Amtronix, Kool-a-Sun and Lahers.

By The African Mirror