Image Credits: .
Special Olympics Bharat announced the results of a virtual DanceSport Competition held for the Special Athletes between 2nd & 25th July 2020. 57 awards were announced on 24 and 30 September 2020 across the Solo Category (42), Duos (9), Couple (5) and Team (1) routines. Athletes from 21 states took part in the virtual competition which was conducted with support of the Special Olympics Asia Pacific.
PID Trustee Dr Aruna Abhey Oswal, Lions Clubs International and Chairperson, Aruna Abhey Oswal Trust graced the occasion as the Chief Guest on 30 September along with other distinguished officials, namely, Mr Dipak Natali, President and Managing Director, Special Olympics Asia Pacific, Dr Pierre Gider, Global Advisor for Dancing and Chair of DanceSport of Special Olympics Resources Team and Air Marshal Denzil Keelor, Founder & CEO, SO Bharat.
The event presented the dance videos of the awardees revealing the dancing talents of the Special Athletes, with the enthusiastic involvement of their family members. The video presentations were complemented with motivating addresses by the eminent guests including experience sharing by family members of the participants.
In an inspiring address, Dr Aruna Abhey Oswal said, “It is not important to go to heaven, but it is important to create a heaven here, and that is what is unfolding, as I can see. The greatest gift in life is to bring a smile to someone’s face. Special Olympics is the biggest change maker. It is bringing about a change in people’s attitude by showcasing the remarkable abilities of the Special Athletes. We must continue to work together to serve mankind with full zeal and with unwavering determination to give Special Athletes a place that they deserve.”
Both the days witnessed the presence of Dr Pierre Gider, and his team members Ms Lorna Martin Fox, Ms Donna Dempsey & Mr Antoni Czyzyk who assessed 269 entries, shortlisted out of a total of 396, from Special Athletes from 21 States of India. The virtual event was coordinated and organized by Mr Victor R Vaz, National Sports Director, SO Bharat and his team in close collaboration with Mr Coen Van Putten, Manager Sports, Special Olympics Asia Pacific Region. Mr Vaz is preparing for India’s participation in the first DanceSport World Championship slated for August 2021.
In the words of Dr Pierre Gider: “India is the first National Program to take the virtual participation of DanceSport to such a scale. Dance is a wholistic health booster that maintains your physical and mental well-being. We are combating Coronavirus with the ‘Dance Virus’. It is something that is fun with fitness and recreation. I am very happy to see the variety and the overall development of the sport in India”
Dr Pierre Gider had held a Special Olympics Dance Sport workshop in New Delhi, India, in early 2019. The training prepared the SO Bharat Athletes to participate in the Dance Sport Challenge held in March 2019 at the Special Olympics World Summer Games Abu Dhabi, UAE where six participants from India won two Silver and three Bronze Medals.
Mr Satish Pillai, Chairman, SO Bharat expressed, “I am delighted to see the scale of participation in the sport, which is a new discipline. Dance activates physical fitness, stimulates creativity and most of all, causes immense joy to the athletes that has been observed across multiple sporting events. With Special Olympics recognizing it as an official sport, it has become an important aspect of Athlete Development. This perhaps could be the best sport to pursue during the lockdown, involving the family members as well. The costumes, the setups at home etc. substantiate the enthusiasm of the families to keep the athletes meaningfully engaged. I wish to express my gratitude to them and to Special Olympics Asia Pacific for supporting us in developing DanceSport and expanding it all over India.”
About Special Olympics Dance Sport
At the Abu Dhabi 2019 Special Olympics World Games, the Special Olympics International Board of Directors voted to adopt DanceSport as “recognized” sports of Special Olympics. DanceSport has met the criteria for adoption to be classified as “recognized” sports in the Special Olympics Official General Rules. In order to become a “recognized” sport, at least 12 accredited Special Olympics national or state Programs across at least 2 of Special Olympics global Regions must have instituted it. Special Olympics established a Partnership with the World DanceSport Federation during the Abu Dhabi World Games.