SINGAPORE - Sports competitions can be formative in building young people's characters, while honing leadership qualities among other positive character traits. On Saturday, organisers of Romp 19 sought to offer these learning opportunities to the intellectually disabled.
Among the 2,000 youth athletes and volunteers taking part in Romp 19 were participants with intellectual disability, who played in the badminton, basketball or football competitions at Our Tampines Hub.
Other participants competed in table tennis and tchoukball, also at Our Tampines Hub, as well as pool at the King's Pool snooker hall in Ang Mo Kio.
Mr Desmond Lee, Minister for Social and Family Development, was the guest of honour of the eighth edition of the annual sporting carnival organised by WAD (We Are Different) Club, the youth arm for non-profit organisation Harvest Care Centre (HCC).
Noting the potential for sport as a platform for inclusion and mutual participation, HCC President Reverend Bernard Foo said: "It is exciting to see athletes of different abilities compete on a level-playing field in basketball, soccer and badminton.
"It has also been a journey for the organising committee to expand its capabilities to bring together two different groups of people united by their common passion for the same sport."
In another move to promote inclusivity sport, HCC announced a partnership with Special Olympics Singapore on Saturday.
Starting with weekly basketball sessions in 2020, sports team members and volunteers of WAD Club will train and play with athletes with intellectual disabilities from Special Olympics Singapore. The programme will start with weekly basketball training sessions from early 2020.
Special Olympics Singapore Honorary Secretary Linda Prebhash said: "We firmly believe that youth and educators can be encouraged to be leaders of change. By playing together, we will create a more inclusive Singapore."