Special Olympics Belgium has launched the first virtual edition of the National Games on Thursday, the organisation announced.
Over two days, 19,173 Special Olympics athletes will have to face ten challenges in five sports disciplines: athletics, cycling, racket sports, football and swimming.
Among the challenges, two per discipline, the athletes will have to plank, juggle a ball, perform a balance exercise or walk, run or ride a few kilometres. Participating athletes will be supported by numerous Belgian sports personalities including Roberto Martinez, Tessa Wullaert, Yanina Wickmayer, Dylan Borlée, Greg Van Avermaet and Fanny Lecluyse.
"We have created challenges that are sometimes easy and sometimes more difficult so that everyone can achieve a maximum at home, with their club or in their institution. I can already tell you that this first edition of the Virtual Games has been enthusiastically welcomed by our athletes and the thousands of volunteers," said Zehra Sayin, CEO of Special Olympics Belgium.
This first edition will start on Thursday at 10:00 AM with the traditional opening ceremony with the relay of the Flame of Hope which will be lit on the Grand Place of Antwerp. The 38th edition of the National Games was scheduled to be held in the Metropolis, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Antwerp Olympic Games, but was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"Usually, the National Games are accessible for organisational reasons to only 3,400 athletes. The Virtual Games format allows us to reach many more athletes, volunteers and supporters. Everyone can participate in their own way in this digital edition and even win a virtual medal and we hope to be able to count on the support of all Belgians", concluded Zehra Sayin.
The different challenges, as well as the closing ceremony, can be followed via the Facebook page of Special Olympics Belgium.
The Brussels Times