The following excerpt is from an article titled Russian Special Olympics Athlete Keeps Training During Lockdown originally published on the World Health Organization Europe website.
Katya Sazonova, who has an intellectual and hearing impairment, is a dedicated Special Olympics Judo, volleyball and alpine skiing athlete whose training did not stop when the COVID-19 lockdown came to where she lives in Moscow, Russian Federation.
Throughout the WHO European Region, 6 to 10 out of every 100 people live with a disability, amounting to an estimated 135 million people. Since 1968, the Special Olympics has provided sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, experience joy, learn new skills and create friendships. The Special Olympics strives to create a better world by fostering the acceptance and inclusion of all people.
“My mother didn’t want to give birth to me so she took pills and I was born with disabilities. I grew up in an orphanage where the other children laughed at me because I didn’t always understand the same things as them. At a new orphanage, I met my future coach and foster mother. They noticed I was very active and suggested I try sport—it changed everything.”