Barcelona, Spain: The 2012-13 Turkish Airlines Euroleague season is going strong and Europe's most prestigious basketball competition is taking an early opportunity to promote social inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities as part of its acclaimed "One Team" social responsibility program.
Under the “Game 8” and “Game 9” programmes, 24 Euroleague games taking place the next two weeks (November 29 and 30, December 6 and 7) will be dedicated to the athletes of Special Olympics, the world’s largest sporting organisation for people with intellectual disabilities and partners of One Team.
There are almost 200 million people in the world with intellectual disabilities. Many of them struggle for the opportunity to be integrated into society and in their communities, and even to receive proper medical care. Many are faced with discrimination, stigma and abuse that deny them their most basic human rights to health, education, and sometimes life itself.
“Once again, the Turkish Airlines Euroleague is demonstrating its commitment to using basketball to empower people with intellectual disabilities," says Mary Davis, President of Special Olympics Europe Eurasia. "Our athletes are thrilled for this opportunity and looking forward to meeting their Euroleague heroes."
Just before the start of the 24 Euroleague games, which are taking place in different venues across Europe, basketball players with intellectual disabilities will appear on court alongside Euroleague stars in a show of unity and strength that sends a powerful message of respect, acceptance and inclusion for all.
The Special Olympics athletes will then enjoy that night's Euroleague games as guests of the host clubs. Some of the athletes will also have the opportunity to reveal their basketball skills to packed stadiums by taking part in drills and free throws during half-time or time-out breaks. The dedication of these 24 Euroleague games to Special Olympics is part of One Team's support of the 2012 Special Olympics European Basketball Week. Taking place from November 24 to December 2, European Basketball Week is one week of the year where the European basketball community are called on to play their part in expanding more opportunities for players with intellectual disabilities.
More information is available at www.euroleague.net or www.specialolympics.org.