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Excitement and expectation is rising for the 2014 Special Olympics European Games as Special Olympics Belgium close their most successful and largest National Games to date.

Excitement is Building

Opening Ceremony of 2013 National Games

“The success of Belgium’s 2013 National Games is hugely encouraging” says Mary Davis, President of Special Olympics Europe Eurasia. “Now we have a taste of the excitement, passion and professionalism we can expect when we celebrate the 2014 European Games in Antwerp. I am looking forward to it more than ever and congratulations to everyone at Special Olympics Belgium for a fantastic Games!”

The host town of Ghent came to a standstill on the evening of May 8th, when 7,000 people took to their seats in a specially built stadium before the beautiful settings of the Grand Palace to celebrate the Games Opening Ceremony.

For the first time ever the ceremony was attended by HSH Princess Astrid of Belgium who officially opened the Games and attended many of the competitions which took place over the following three days. 3,270 athletes competed in 19 sports, supported by 1,200 coaches and 1.500 volunteers.

In an exclusive interview with Belgium TV, Princess Astrid warmly described Special Olympics as “a piece of paradise on earth”. The Princess spoke about how much she enjoyed the Games and what an honour it was to share in the joy of the athletes and the pride of their parents.  Watch it here.

And in a fantastic endorsement for Special Olympics, she confirmed that the 2014 Special Olympics European Games in Antwerp would take place under Her High Patronage.

The 2014 Special Olympics European Games will take place in Antwerp from September 9th – 21st and will bring together teams from 58 countries across Europe and Eurasia to compete for medals in eleven sports including: Swimming, Gymnastics, Athletics, Motor Activity Training, Badminton, Table Tennis, Bocce, Football, Basketball and Judo. The Games will also involve competitions in Unified Table Tennis and Basketball which will bring together athletes with and without intellectual disabilities competing on the same team.

For more information on 2014 Special Olympics European Games visit

Visit Special Olympics Belgium on facebook for more photos from the 2013 National Games: