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Special Olympics Turkey Unified Athlete Organizes Tournament

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Special Olympics Turkey Unified athlete Cem Kaya relied on his experience to organize a Unified competition for his peers.
Cem Kaya, a Special Olympics Turkey Unified athlete, took the lead in organizing a Unified basketball competition in Istanbul on 16 March. Cem, 21, is no stranger to Unified Sports, so it was easy for him to recruit 30 Unified athletes and 20 Unified partners from local special and mainstream schools. All of the players were between 15 and 25 and involved in Special Olympics Turkey’s Unified Schools project. Given his experience, Cem said he had no trouble organizing the event. “I enjoyed the challenge of bringing players together but I do like being on the court as a player.” Unified partner Ömer Toktaş, 18, said the competition was his first Unified experience. “Basketball is a good way to break down prejudices about people with intellectual disabilities. Cem did a great job and everyone did their best on the court. We really played as a team.” Since October 2014, Special Olympics Turkey has been running a Unified Schools project with the support of Honorary Chair Dilek Sabancı. The project brings together 800 youth aged 9 to 25 from over 15 mainstream schools, special education centers, local sports clubs and universities for inclusive sports, education and volunteering activities.

About Me:

Atil Berk is the communications and fundraising coordinator for Special Olympics Turkey.