By Quinn Barrie-Watts, Social Connectedness Fellow 2019
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The United Nations has an agreement called the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This agreement says everyone should be able to participate in sports.
Special Olympics was founded in 1968, so that people with intellectual disabilities could participate in sports.
I interviewed my friend Mika who participates in Special Olympics Quebec as an athlete. I also interviewed his sister Maya and mom Marie-France who are coaches.
Mika trains in many sports but his favourite one is floor hockey.
Maya and Marie-France say both the athletes and the coaches have improved fitness and health thanks to Special Olympics training.
Special Olympics athletes feel accomplished and proud of their achievements.
The athletes also make friends and feel accepted by their peers.
Marie-France says that the athletes develop and show important skills like teamwork and sportsmanship.
Mika also loves competing, and won a gold medal for the 200m run this past summer.
Marie-France and Maya say that Mika feels like he belongs when he is training because he is with others just like him.
Marie-France and Maya also have fun when they are coaching the athletes.
Special Olympics is working at improving its Motor Activity Training Program called MATP for short. MATP is sports training for those who can’t do mainstream sports and need adapted activities.
The Motor Activity Training Program is also looking to expand its target population to ageing Special Olympics Athletes.
There is little research available on MATP candidates. Many people still do not know about the program.
Marie-France and Maya both say they wish there were more volunteers who were not related to the athletes.
If you would like to volunteer for Special Olympics Quebec, click here.