PESHAWAR: In order to promote sports among special children and provide them a healthy activity, a two-day National Football Championship took place in Peshawar at the Qayyum Stadium.
Special Olympics Pakistan (SOP) organised the championship in collaboration with the Malik Saad Trust. A total of 200 players from Peshawar, Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad, Quetta, Jhelum, Sargodha, Sialkot, Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir took part in the championship.
National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa chapter, DG Shahzada Saleem was the chief guest whereas SOP Chairperson Ronak Lakhani also graced the occasion.
While speaking to The Express Tribune, Sajid, a special player from Gilgit, said, “We are glad to come here and play football at the national level and perform our best. Our teachers helped prepare us for the championship.”
Humaira, another special player from Karachi said, “We won from Lahore and came here to play. Sports keep people active and everyone enjoys it.”
Ronak too spoke to the media on the occasion. “Media play an important role for these athletes. The government is not doing its part in promoting sports especially for special children.”
She added, “We would like the government to support us financially and provide grounds to us so that special children can play. We are also preparing our players to take part at the World Olympics which will be held in 2019.”
Saira Ameen Ali, Project Coordinator Young Athlete further pushed the point, saying the government needs to provide better sports facilities to these special children and recognise their achievements for their country.
It is pertinent to mention here that Pakistani players won the Special Olympics World Games in July 2015.
Saira also said, “Much more needs to be done because we have to compete with 170 countries in the upcoming World Olympics and we are currently lagging behind.
The chief guest also presented Ronak with a souvenir for her services for the special children.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 1st, 2015.
In an earlier version of the article, it stated that the event concluded. The error has been amended and is regretted.