Pakistani athlete among torchbearers at Special Olympics opening | The Express Tribune


Pakistani athlete Sana will be a torchbearer at the 16th Special Olympic World Games opening ceremony in Berlin which is set to kick off with its grand opening ceremony at the German capital’s Olympia Stadium on Saturday.

The opening ceremony will witness a parade of approximately 7,000 athletes from 190 countries, taking place in the iconic Olympia Stadium, which has a seating capacity of around 75,000 at 8:20pm local time.

The President of Special Olympics, Timothy Shriver, will warmly welcome the athletes, while the President of Germany, Frank Walters, will officially declare the games open.

Among the highlights of the event will be the participation of athlete Sana from Pakistan as one of the torchbearers during the ceremony.

Sana, hailing from Sindh’s Mirpurkhas town, has been selected as one of the torchbearers by the organisers of the games. It is worth noting that only athletes from seven countries receive the honour of lighting the torch at the games.

Sana will be representing Pakistan in the athletics race, showcasing her talent and determination on an international platform.

Prior to the event, the Pakistani squad participating in the event was hosted at a reception organised by Pakistan’s Ambassador to Germany, Dr Muhammad Faisal, at Pakistan House in Berlin.

The delegation, consisting of 54 male and 33 female athletes, along with their coaches and support officials, received a warm welcome from embassy officials and staff.

Prominent members of the Pakistani community were also in attendance, offering encouragement and support to the aspiring young athletes.

During the reception, Ambassador Dr Muhammad Faisal expressed his pride in seeing the athletes’ enthusiasm, hope, and strong determination to represent Pakistan.

He commended the team management, particularly Ronaq Lakhani and Yasmeen Haider, as well as the coaches and officials for their efforts in preparing the players for this momentous event. He emphasised that the nation takes great joy in witnessing its special children participate in international competitions.

The Pakistani ambassador assured the Special Olympics team of the embassy’s full support throughout their stay in Berlin. Ronak Lakhani, Chairperson of Special Olympics Pakistan and leader of the delegation, expressed gratitude to the Pakistani ambassador and the embassy for their generous support, and expressed hope for the team’s success in the upcoming event.

In addition to arranging food for the guests, the embassy organised captivating musical performances that entertained the audience.

Meanwhile, the organising committee in Berlin treated the Pakistani contingent to visits to various historical sites. The athletes had the opportunity to explore landmarks such as the Berlin Wall, the German Parliament, the Future Museum, the Central Railway Station, Berlin’s largest Central Park, and a school for special children.

During the visit to the Berlin Wall, the special children were enlightened about the historical significance of the wall, which was constructed in 1961 and demolished in 1990. The Pakistani team took pictures and selfies with the historic landmark, capturing cherished memories.

At the Future Museum, the athletes were enthralled by the futuristic technology, including robots, envisioned for the next 30 years in Germany.

Furthermore, a grand show called the “Arise Grand Show” was organised at Berlin’s largest theatre for the participating athletes from various countries, including Pakistan.

The organisers extended a warm welcome to the participants, providing insights into the background of the games and the mega event commencing on Saturday. The audience was treated to mesmerising performances by German cultural dance artists.

The national athletes participating in the World Games commenced their training sessions from Friday. Pakistan will be represented in 11 different sports throughout the event, and the athletes are eager to demonstrate their skills and bring pride to the nation.

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