SO Bharat conducted a training session to introduce tennis.

Special Olympics Bharat held a tennis training webinar on 7th and 8th September 2020, opening a new chapter for the organization and adding tennis to its varied portfolio of sports in India. The nation-wide training focused on 55 coaches from 22 states of India and was led by Teresa Leitao, Director Sports & Unified Sports Special Olympics Brazil.

The informative webinar touched topics around the level of skills, type of court, divisions, scoring, and the modified rules to fit it into the unified sports module.

National Sports Director of SO Bharat Victor R Vaz along with Regional Manager Sports Coen Van Putten collaborated to introduce the sport in India with an objective of preparing an Indian tennis team to debut at the Special Olympics World Summer Games slated to be held in Germany in 2023.

Teresa Leitao has been organizing tennis events for individuals with intellectual disabilities in Latin America and many other countries, since 2008, also having organized tennis tournaments at the SO World Summer Games held in 2011, 2015 and 2019. She remarked, “Tennis applies to Special Athletes across all different conditions. They all can serve, play, volley etc. It all depends on how they are trained. The communication to the Athletes must be very clear and consistent.”

After the completion of this two-part training programme, the coaches will attend internal sessions organised by Special Olympics Bharat to familiarise them with the rules and regulations of the sport. They would then assume responsibility for introducing the sport in their respective states by identifying and training more coaches and scouting for suitable athletes. The coaches would be assisted by the various Area Directors of SO Bharat to make it a success on the local level.

Highlighting the importance of this milestone, Air Marshal Keelor, Founder & CEO, SO Bharat said, “It is always a significant moment when a new sport is added. It opens doors for new talent and grants us an opportunity to expand our reach to more Athletes and Coaches.”

“The presentation was beautifully articulated incorporating some very simple guidance into the technical aspects of tennis that would eventually make the sport very easy to grasp,” he concluded.