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Athletics : Special Olympics 2023 begins in Germany

(AXIOS)
Thousands of people celebrated the opening of the 2023 Special Olympics Summer World Games on Saturday in Berlin with an opening ceremony and traditional parade of athletes.

The gathering is among the largest worldwide sporting events of 2023 and will play host to some 7,000 athletes and Unified partners from nearly 190 countries.

Athletes will compete in 26 sports during their time in Berlin, including swimming, gymnastics, basketball, field hockey and beach volleyball.

German table tennis player Sophie Rensmann lit the Olympic cauldron during the opening ceremony and the Blue Man Group closed out the event with a performance that was followed by fireworks.

German basketball legend Dirk Nowitzki, who played 21 seasons with the Dallas Mavericks, also appeared at the ceremony. Nowitzki was named one of the Friends of the Games for Berlin 2023.

Worth noting: In conjunction with the launch of the Games, numerous countries have formed the Global Leadership Coalition for Inclusion to help promote and foster participation in youth sports for those with and without intellectual disabilities.

Over the next three years, the coalition plans to open 150,000 Unified schools that include inclusive sports and academic curriculums and add 2 million children to Special Olympics sports and education programs.

Coalition members include Egypt, Jamaica, China and Iceland.

The St. Kitts and Nevis Special Olympics team proudly participated in the grand parade.