23rd May 2018, New Delhi: A Unified Football team of 6 athletes with Intellectual Disability and 5 mainstream Athletes travelled to Delhi, to commence practises in preparation for the Unified Cup to be held in Chicago USA in July 2018. The third training Camp from 20-30 May 2018 is being held at the Amity University NOIDA UP. Participants and Coaches have arrived from the states of Delhi, Goa, Maharashtra, Punjab, Kerala and Rajasthan. The previous two training Camps were held in Gurgaon and Goa in the months of March and April 2018 respectively. The training sessions will be held daily from 7:00 AM – 8:30 AM and from 4PM – 6:30PM. The preparation and participation of the Indian contingent from Special Olympics Bharat is being supported exclusively by Herbalife Nutrition, the premier global nutrition company. Herbalife Nutrition has partnered with Special Olympics Bharat to train and develop athletes with intellectual disabilities.
The resource team for the Camp includes Coaches from the Delhi Dynamos Football Club and the SO Bharat Coaches trained by the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation, with considerable focus on training the goal keepers. Delhi Dynamos Football Club (DDFC) , the club of the capital city of India that plays in the Indian Super League (ISL) have partnered with SO Bharat to extend training to the SO Bharat Unified Football team. Their Coaches have been training the team across all the training Camps held so far along with exclusive individual training to the Athletes along with their Academy players on a weekly basis.
A strong female unified footballing team has emerged from the preparations which have been underway for the mega event, since the beginning of the year. An enthusiastic response from the Unified partners (players without Intellectual disabilities) having engaged repeatedly with the Athletes by now, has started to show a change in mind-sets. Having overcome initial inhibitions and language/communication barriers the team demonstrates a successful union of persons with and without ID, all being trained to perform with equal skill and seriousness
The Unified Cup Chicago, presented by TOYOTA (SOUFC 2018), will be held from 17-20 July 2018 The five day Unified Football Cup is a celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Special Olympics. 24 teams (16 male and 8 female) will be participating from Bharat (India), Brazil, Canada, China, Ecuador, France, Germany, Italy, Japan (Nippon),Kenya, Korea, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia, Slovakia, United Arab Emirates, United States and Uruguay