On Wednesday, the 38th edition of the Special Olympics National Games officially started by lighting the traditional Olympic flame at the foot of the Lion’s Hill in Waterloo.
The Special Olympics Games were created to promote the social integration of people with intellectual disabilities through sport.
This first post-Covid edition, hosted by Walloon Brabant, will take place at the Blocry site in Louvain-la-Neuve as well as at the swimming pool and the Gaston Reiff municipal stadium in Braine-l'Alleud.
Flame of Hope torch run
As tradition goes, the Olympic flame will pass through these sites on Wednesday, resulting in an 18 km “torch run” before the Opening Ceremony in Louvain-la-Neuve, which starts at 19:00.
Prince Laurent will make the opening statement, and the Flame of Hope, which will burn until the end of the games, will be lit by athlete Micheline Van Hees and sprinter Jonathan Sacoor.
2,700 athletes will take part in the four-day event, which lasts until 28 May.
The programme includes competitions in sixteen different disciplines. For this year’s edition, the games will also include a demonstration sport: 20 athletes will be introduced to hockey.
Moreover, the organisers scheduled unified competitions in the disciplines athletics, badminton, netball and football. Competitors, which consist of SOB athletes and unified partners, will form a duo or team.