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Special Olympics ‘Mini Meet’ draws record 300 participants

12th September, 2017

SANDAKAN: Special Olympics Sandakan (SOS) officials were taken by surprise by the huge number of participants at the ‘Mini Meet’ which SOS organised at the Sandakan Sports Complex Stadium recently.

“We were truly astonished by the large turnout. It is a new record for our Mini Meet,” exclaimed Taren Sunil Manoharan, Chairman of Special Olympics Sandakan.

The participants were from 15 schools and special centres in and around Sandakan District which are active in promoting and implementing programmes for special athletes.

“We are extremely pleased that this annual sports event for special athletes has gained traction. It is very apparent that we are winning a lot of support for our cause,” he added with delight in a statement issued yesterday.

In addition to the 300 athletes, nearly 200 volunteers and teachers were on hand to assist in ensuring the smooth flow of the games. A good number of spectators also came to watch the events.

“In view of the special nature of these games, we are very thankful to the teachers and volunteers for playing a vital role in the success of the Mini Meet,” said the SOS Chairman who is also Vice-Chairman of Special Olympics Sabah.

The Mini Meet comprised a host of track and field events. There was also a badminton competition. This year the organisers added a new game played on lawn – bocee.

SMK Muhibbah emerged as the best performing school winning 24 gold, 26 silver and 19 bronze medals to top the chart as overall champions. SK Sungai Anib 3 came in second with 13 gold, 17 silver and 14 bronze medals. AGAPE and SK Gas both had 5 gold medals each but AGAPE clinched 4 silvers and 6 bronzes to edge out the latter’s 2 silvers and 5 bronzes.

“One of our main objectives is to highlight the sports skills and abilities of our special athletes. We are proud that they can overcome challenges and do well at sports and games,” said Taren Sunil.

He cited the exploits of two young athletes from SMK Muhibbah, Noraini Binti Zakaria and Norysuhadatul Aulia Saidina Maarufi, who won a total of 3 gold and 1 bronze medal in snowshoeing at the Special Olympics World Winter Games 2017 in Ramsau, Austria earlier this year. Those Games involved around 2,700 athletes from 107 nations around the world.

The SOS president thanked Special Olympics Sabah Chairman Datuk Haji Mohd Safari Bin Manan for coming over from Kota Kinabalu to launch the Mini Meet and give words of encouragement to the athletes as well as volunteers and teachers.

At the closing prize-presentation ceremony he also expressed his appreciation to the guests who attended the event including the Sandakan Education Officer, principals and headmasters of schools as well as heads of other organisations. He thanked all the generous sponsors, donors and contributors for supporting the Mini Meet and asked for their continued support. –PR

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