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Teresa Leitao, Tennis Technical Delegate at the 2011, 2015, and 2019 World Games

Teresa Leitão

Special Olympics Latin America, Tennis Technical Delegate at the 2011, 2015, and 2019 World Games

During Women’s History Month, seven women, one from each Special Olympics Region, shared their unique stories of what it was like to participate in and plan a World Games.

What World Games were you involved in and what was your role?

I have been involved in many World Games in many roles. At the 1999 World Games in North Carolina, I was the head coach for tennis for Special Olympics Brazil. In 2001 in Anchorage, I was the Assistant Head of Delegation. In Shanghai in 2007, I was the head coach for tennis again. I was the Head of Delegation for Special Olympics Brazil in Pyeongchang in 2013. I was the Technical Delegate for tennis in 2011 in Athens, 2015 in Los Angeles and 2019 in Abu Dhabi.

What does a Technical Delegate do?

The TD advises the local organizing committee (LOC) on the technical requirements of the specific sport to ensure a safe, quality and dignified sports environment. The TD is the final authority on each of these matters: rules, competition schedule, field of play, equipment, volunteer staff, competition management team, technical officials, coaches meetings, sanctions, sports publications, results, and more.

What advice would you share with women who aspire to be in a role like yours?

I would suggest for them to get involved with Special Olympics because it is worth it every moment we get to spend with athletes.

What challenges do you see in increasing female participation in sports and what can we do to solve them?

Many women may see it as a more masculine role and do not want to be working with more administrative functions or as a sports manager. We should show that is possible for everyone and does not depend on gender. A woman can have the same roles with the same level of success.

Who is your female role model?

Eunice Kennedy Shriver. She has transformed the lives of millions of people around the world, including mine.

Women of World Games

  • Dorothy Okatch Special Olympics Africa, Basketball Official, World Games Abu Dhabi 2019
  • Nicole Harris Special Olympics Asia Pacific, Special Olympics Australia athlete on 2025 & 2029 World Winter Games Bid Evaluation Team
  • Kyung-won Na Special Olympics East Asia, Chairwoman, World Winter Games Pyeongchang 2013
  • Róża Banasik-Zarańska Special Olympics Europe Eurasia, Kayaking Technical & Unified Sports Delegate
  • Teresa Leitão Special Olympics Latin America, Tennis Technical Delegate at the 2011, 2015, and 2019 World Games
  • Kristine Hughes Assistant Technical Delegate, Volleyball, World Games Berlin 2023
  • Layla Alhajjaj Special Olympics Middle East / North Africa, Manager of Transformation and Legacy for Special Olympics UAE, World Games Abu Dhabi 2019

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