From one job to another
The recruitment of a former Egyptian athlete marked the launch of the Central Specialised Federation for Intellectual Disabilities, Abeer Anwar
Amal Mubadda, an ex-swimmer and former basketball player, has decided to end her career and start a new one with the mentally handicapped. "I feel very proud that I took over as Special Olympics Egypt national director. It is a great opportunity for me to be able to serve a part of the Egyptian society that is neglected and not well looked after or treated," Mubadda told Al-Ahram Weekly.
With Mubadda, who obtained accreditation from Special Olympics International, one feels the SO Egypt headquarters is a beehive where everyone is trying to do his utmost to serve the athletes. "We have a lot of work. We are preparing for the 2013 World Winter Games in Korea in January. We have started holding tournaments in the governorates to choose the teams that will participate in floor hockey, snowshoeing and ice-skating," explained Mubadda.
The SO Middle East and North Africa (MENA) regional office recently convened a meeting presided over by SO MENA Regional President and Managing Director Ayman Abdel-Wahab to introduce Mubadda.
A second meeting was held at SO Egypt's premises between Mubadda, coaches and other key constituents of the programme.
Abdel-Wahab described the appointment of Mubadda, a former sports champion, as a "considerable move on the path of achieving an outstanding leap in SO Egypt's performance."
Abdel-Wahab highlighted the new board of programmes as elected by civic bodies "that have always worked closely with individuals with intellectual disabilities and accordingly must have gained quite an outstanding experience in the field."
Commending the "spirit of achievement" he said he personally found in Mubadda, Abdel-Wahab expressed his strong belief she would accelerate the program's momentum.
Mubadda said that while individuals with intellectual disabilities in Egypt recently reached three million, SO Egypt still involves no more than 25,000 athletes according to the 2010 athletes' census.
She expressed hope that by the end of 2015 the athletes enlisted in the programme would reach 50,000.
Abdel-Wahab asserted his intention to have his office invest its utmost potential in providing SO Egypt with full support "in a manner that would help it attain a pioneering status, thus setting an exceptional worth-following example among the world's 183 SO programmes."
Being inclusive of civil associations concerned with intellectual disability, CSFID had its first elections in which nine candidates out 14 won.
In accordance with SO accreditation standards, the SOMENA regional presidency will grant the federation the rights to use the Special Olympics name and conduct all activities under its umbrella. This will include all competitions and games at the local level, partaking in the bi-annual Regional Games and quadrennial World Summer and Winter Games. Egypt received an invitation to play in the SO World Winter Games in Korea next year.
Abdel-Wahab expressed pride, "as an Egyptian," over his contribution to the founding of CSFID. He said much work was pending by the federation in terms of the three million individuals with intellectual disabilities in Egypt, according to the UN's latest statistics.