Serbia kicked off their Special Olympics European Basketball Week with a National Basketball Tournament for male athletes on November 26th in Krusevac. This event was followed by a National Basketball Tournament for women in Pirot on December 3rd and a promotional appearance at the Euroleague game between Partizan Mt:s and Maccabi Electra on December 1st.
12 male and 12 female Special Olympics teams participated in each of the National Basketball Tournaments. Miodrag Macksimovic, Sports Director, Special Olympics Serbia was in attendance at the women’s National Basketball Tournament; “Today has been a great day of basketball full of fantastic displays of skill and sportsmanship. The fact that today is the International Day for People with Disabilities makes it all the more important and inspiring. I want to take this opportunity to congratulate all the athletes who took part today and everyone who took part in European Basketball Week.”
The final event for 2011 European Basketball Week in Serbia was a promotional appearance by Special Olympics athletes at the Euroleague Regular season game between Partizan Mt:s and Maccabi Electra on December 1st in the Pionir Arena, Belgrade. Prior to commencement of the game all Euroleague players entered the court wearing the Special Olympics “Basketball for Everyone” t-shirts followed by eight Special Olympics athletes carrying a Special Olympics flag.
Minutes before tip-off Partizan Mt:s star and captain, Petar Bozic addressed the 8,000 full arena; “It is so importance that we continue to promote and expand opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities so everyone can enjoy basketball.”
Directly after Petar Bozic’s speech Special Olympics athlete Milos Radojkovic spoke a few words on what Special Olympics and the sport of basketball means to him; “Basketball is my favourite sport and today’s game motivates me and my friends to practice more and more in order to become better players. I’m so happy to be here and I want to thank Euroleague and Special Olympics for making this happen.”
Following their speeches Petar and Milo demonstrated their skills to the crowd by taking turns shooting hoops. The reaction of the crowded arena was incredible making it a truly remarkable experience.