Storms in Orlando prevented us delivering a football session for local athletes with and without intellectual disabilities at ESPN Wide World of Sports on Friday.
Nevertheless, a quick change of plan around the weather saw the athletes welcomed to the team’s hotel, where they were met by Christian Eriksen, Kieran Trippier, Josh Onomah and Will Miller for a Q&A session, autographs and photographs, kicking-off our tour-wide support of Special Olympics, with further clinics set to take place in New York and Nashville.
Special Olympics is the world’s largest sports organisation for people with intellectual disabilities – with more than 5.7 million athletes in 172 countries.
It aims to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults, providing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.
Below: Kieran, Christian and Josh sign autographs
The Club’s relationship with the charity began on a local level in 2007, with the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation delivering Unified Football sessions throughout the local community in partnership with Special Olympics GB.
By 2009, the Club had been announced as a Global Partner of Special Olympics and has delivered football coaching clinics in China, Poland, India, Singapore, the United States and Australia in the years that have followed.
Recent programmes in India and Singapore have seen specialist disability football coaches from the Foundation deliver educational workshops to local coaches with the aim of improving the delivery of football coaching to those with intellectual disabilities. In both instances, members of the Official Supporters’ Clubs have assisted the Foundation coaches in the delivery of this work, helping break down cultural and language barriers.
Meanwhile, the Club regularly supports Special Olympics on its First Team Tours, including a parade of the Special Olympics Torch in Sydney ahead of the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games in Los Angeles.