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Angra do Heroísmo ,  May 11, 2012

2nd World Athletics Championship for athletes with Down syndrome to take place in the Azores

The Regional Secretary for Education and Training presented in Angra do Heroísmo on Friday the structure of the 2nd World Athletics Championship for athletes with Down syndrome that will be held on Terceira between May 15 and 21. The event will count on the participation of 12 countries.

South Africa, Brazil, Cameroon, Costa Rica, Finland, Great Britain, Italy, Macau, Mexico, Portugal, Turkmenistan, Turkey and Venezuela are the teams to be represented at this sports competition, which corresponds to a total of 150 participants including athletes and coaches.

This event is integrated in three competitive levels: international, sponsored by the International Athletic Association for Persons With Down Syndrome (IAADS); national, through the National Sports Association for Intellectual Disability (ANDDI); regional, through a partnership with Terceira Athletics Association.

Speaking on the occasion, Cláudia Cardoso emphasised the interest of this initiative for the Azores and stressed the logistical support provided by 50 Azorean companies and entities, particularly in transportation, supply of medals, medical support, souvenirs and regional products. The government official also stressed "the collaboration with civil society through the participation of over 40 volunteers, who have supported the organisation of the sports event."
Moreover, the Regional Secretary mentioned the fact that adapted sports "has been a constant concern over the past 15 years." Firstly, it began to take shape "with the granting of support for the acquisition of specific materials and training of human resources, providing entities with better conditions for adapted sports practice."

To ensure "a strong stimulus to a relevant area as this, "the Government has developed an action plan for developing and regulating the support to regular sports practice as well as the participation in national and international events. With these measures, the Government also intends to promote equality of opportunities in the access to sports practice," added the Regional Secretary.

Cláudia Cardoso said that the effort undertaken by the Regional Government "has bore fruit," which is evidenced by the existence of 76 centres that promote regular sports activities in the Azores either at the level of physical activity or at a competition level.
This regular organisation, in its different aspects, has been supported by the Azorean Government in the total amount of 100 thousand Euros, involving more than 730 participants from 30 institutions located on seven islands. This support has covered a total of 13 sports, including futsal, track and field, goal-ball, swimming and sailing.

The Regional Secretary also recalled that the Government has ensured the participation in national competitions for groups that show a quality work. In this context, sports infrastructures integrated in Sports Parks as well as school sports facilities were provided with accessibility conditions.
"In the regional educational system, we conduct a coherent and innovative policy with regard to the integration of children and, bearing in mind the principles of the Salamanca Declaration, we have not forgotten physical activity, particularly school sport," added the Regional Secretary.

The options taken the Government in the area of Adapted Sport, “have assured both the significant increase of regularity and diversity sport practice as well as the improvement of quality, which is evidenced by the national and international titles won Azorean athletes. The organisation of the 11th Azorean Sports Gala is also a demonstration of the quality of regional sport," added the government official.

We were pioneers in our country for the relevance given to inclusive sport. The Azores have a world champion in the 1st World Athletics Championship for athletes with Down syndrome, held in Mexico in 2010.
Finally, Cláudia Cardoso said that the organisation of this World Championship in the Azores is "not accidental." In fact, it is the result of "a coherent project with clear goals that has led to the promotion of equality in our Region, turning difference into a true potential.


Official government press-releases presented in all foreign languages interfaces of the Azorean Government Portal (Portal do Governo dos Açores) are a sub-set of the government's official press-releases daily output and are chosen for translation and publication on the foreign language interfaces based on audience segmentation criteria. The entire collection of the Azorean government press-releases is available in portuguese, here, from the GACS Press Office site.

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