(2 Feb) Special Olympics in Bulgaria Presentation by Dr. Hristo Hristozov (+GAL)

Special Olympics in BulgariaSpecial Olympics in Bulgaria a presentation by Dr. Hristo Hristozov, National Director of Special Olympics in Bulgaria was the main event for the regular meeting of Rotary Club Sofia International on 2 February 2022. The meeting took place in Hilton Sofia and online for those not being able to attend in person.

The official part and administrative matters were followed by the presentation of Dr. Hristo Hristozov, National Director of Special Olympics in Bulgaria aided by Mrs. and Diana Bancheva, Program Coordinator. They talked about Special Olympics in Bulgaria and ID Hockey. It was great and so amazing to see that many Bulgarian kids and young people with intellectual disabilities practice different sports actively and with such a passion, as well as that several have achieved top places in international sports disciplines. The Special Olympics organization in Bulgaria is so active and realize so many initiatives with focus on kids with intellectual disabilities mainly in the countryside, which is wonderful. One of the top athletes – Hari we had the honor to meet in person at our meeting in Hilton. He has two times Olympic medals in swimming, as well as International Olympics recognitions in tennis.

The idea of the Special Olympics is to develop kids and young people through sport, and this is a great work. Special Olympics Bulgaria since its foundation 1994 till now has provided opportunities for over 7,000 athletes to train at least 2 hours per week in 27 different sports, has involved 400 sports instructors and coaches, attracted 600 devoted volunteers, as well as over 2,000 partners – children and youth without disabilities, who participate together in teams in 10 unified sports – Football, Dodgeball, Basketball, Bocce, Bowling, Rowing, Canoeing, Sailing, Golf, Ice skating.

After the presentation about Special Olympics in Bulgaria followed presentation regarding Intellectual Disabled Hockey and the action plan to develop it in Bulgaria with the cooperation of Bulgarian Hockey Federation. Legacy Plan is being prepared for the development of field hockey in Bulgaria in partnership with the Hockey Federation, Training of coaches on Special Olympics Field Hockey Guidelines and support to local clubs to develop inclusive hockey. Field Hockey Activities include also establishment of a Center for Support of Inclusive Education in Dobrich with the Coach Marina Bekyarova. Future of Field Hockey Program is the Demonstration sport at Berlin 2023 Special Olympics World Summer Games, where Special Olympics Bulgaria is approved for quota.

Followed Q&A session and everybody applauded Hari for his great successes in sports. The President gave a gift to Hari (our branded mug) as a sign of respect and gratitude. A photo was taken of this special moment. And the official part was closed for the fellowship to continue informally.

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