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Berlin is well prepared for the Special Olympics World Games

Fackel der Special Olympics World Games

Swimmer Nicole Pietschmann (front l-r) canoeist Juliana Rößler, track and field athlete Marko Fähling (back,l-r) and tennis player Louis Kleemeyer present the torch.

Berlin's Senator for the Interior and Sports, Iris Spranger (SPD), believes the city is well prepared for the Special Olympics World Games.

From June 17 to 25, Berlin will host the World Games for people with intellectual and multiple disabilities. Some 7,000 athletes from nearly 190 countries are expected for the occasion. They will compete in 26 sports disciplines ranging from swimming to badminton or basketball. It's the first time the Special Olympics, which like the Olympics take place in a four-year cycle, have been held in Germany.

Many free offers for spectators

Around 21,500 volunteers are involved in organizing the Special Olympics World Games, including around 5,000 volunteers from Berlin. "I'm very grateful for that because of course we need them," Senator Spranger said. "In total, the Specials Olympics cost about 130 million euros. Of that, the federal government and the state have each put up 47 million euros." In addition, there will be sponsorship money and, to a lesser extent, revenue from the tickets that will be sold for numerous, but not all, competitions. The tickets cost six to eight euros each. However, watching is often possible free of charge, said Spranger. The comparatively low prices are intended to help ensure that the competitions are not held in front of empty stands: "We want as many Berliners as possible to watch and cheer on the athletes," said Spranger. After all, they deserve that.

Sports competitions throughout the city

Competitions are planned throughout the city in 26 sports ranging from basketball, soccer and swimming to badminton, judo and canoeing. Venues include the Olympia Park, Messe Berlin, Straße des 17. Juni and the Wannsee lido. The opening ceremony will take place in the Olympic Stadium. Basketball will be played at the Neptune Fountain on Alexanderplatz, Spranger announced. She added that this location will also be a focal point for the Special Olympics Festival, which will feature an extensive cultural program.

Host Town Program for delegations

"Under the motto 'Inclusive Together,' Germany's largest inclusion movement is getting underway with the Host Town Program at the World Games," Spranger announced. "It's a unique project that will welcome international athletes to Germany for four days." Each delegation will be hosted by a municipality in Germany from June 12 to 15, she said. Berlin districts are among the hosts, too - the delegation from Taipei will come to Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, the delegation from Fiji to Lichtenberg, the delegation from Kuwait to Neukölln and the delegation from Ukraine to Treptow-Köpenick.

Author: dpa/
Further information: Special Olympics in Berlin
Publication date: 7 June 2023
Last updated: 7 June 2023

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