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MINI PARALYMPICS GAMES “KOSOVO 2016”


The Special Olympics are an example to us all of how irrespective of ethnicity or cultural differences, there is a plan and purpose, a value to every life, no matter what its location, age, gender or disability.

25, 26 JUN 2016 Vushtrri/Vučitrn, Kosovo.
In wonderful weather and in what can only be described as a tribute to the spirit of mankind and endeavour in its truest sense, the Mini Paralympics Games "Kosovo 2016” edition was held at Vushtrri/Vučitrn on the weekend of 25-26 June.

In Kosovo also the Special Olympics not only demonstrate the fantastic abilities and endeavour of the young athletes but also showcases that for these athletes despite their disabilities, cultural and ethnic differences are simply a non-issue and it is because of this that these unique games can become a key enabler in breaking down issues of mistrust and animosity that may exist across all sections of society in Kosova. Equally what society in Kosovo can learn from this unique event is that these "little” athletes are not disabled, they are ‘superabled’. The Olympics is where heroes are made, the Paralympics is where heroes come; to quote Scott Hamilton, "the only disability in life is a bad attitude.”

The event was exceptionally well organised with the full array of events and competitions almost too numerous to mention from handball, chess, running and shooting competitions just to mention a few. All sport activities and lunch breaks were supported by the eager and willing volunteers from: KAPS, OSCE, KFOR, OPFAKKOS NGO.

For the approximately 40 KFOR soldiers involved in assisting with some of the logistics and catering to support the event it was a tasking that they were only too delighted to undertake. It’s the participation in events such as these where we come out of our normal military environment that is not only a morale booster for the soldiers themselves, but also reinforces for them the importance of our presence here in Kosovo and demonstrating that in so many small ways individually and collectively we can make a genuine difference. Through the raising of funds within KFOR it also meant that the awards and medals that all participants received irrespective of whether they stood on the Olympic Podium or not meant that for these inspirational children they would always have a memento of the event to cherish for the rest of their lives. Finally, these children are a living embodiment of a view of life that is impartial and non-judgemental, which in itself is the underlying philosophy and defining motif of KFOR and its daily mission in Kosovo.



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