Special needs boys have super skills and solid tackles

Special needs boys have super skills and solid tackles
Event organised by the Special Olympics where Singapore Special Olympics athletes play with their partners (who have no disabilities) soccer or badminton campaign.

SINGAPORE - This was a football game I was fully expecting to star in.

I would be playing with and against mainly young boys from Minds Towner Gardens School, a special needs school in Kembangan that caters to children between seven and 18 with intellectual disabilities.

Thoughts of doing a Cristiano Ronaldo crossed my mind before the five-a-side game started.

But once the whistle sounded, I was blown away.

I was ball-picker more than player during the match.

The sports event on Friday morning was organised by Special Olympics Singapore, an organisation dedicated to promoting sports for the intellectually disabled. Besides football, there was also badminton.

It is sponsored by Proctor & Gamble (P&G) and NTUC FairPrice. Now in its third year, the event aims to raise awareness of the intellectually disabled.

I was in a team with three students and another reporter against NTUC FairPrice chief executive Seah Kian Peng, a P&G representative and three more students. At half time, the teams were shuffled.

SPEEDY PASSES

Football spoke its own language. Despite the five-a-side teams being cobbled together at the last minute, tackles and passes flew fast.

More than showcasing my lack of fitness, the match proved that one's learning challenges is no indication of prowess on the field.

Like the scrawny but effervescent Ashraf who said he forgot his surname but was on a hat-trick by the end of the first half.

The 14-year-old was no more than 1.5m tall, but chased every last ball and ended the match with four strikes. He was my Man of the Match.

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