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Special Olympics builds the “Special Olympics Courts of Dreams”

Brussels, November 9th – Special Olympics Belgium (SOB), the Olympic organization for people with intellectual disabilities, wants to continue supporting their athletes now that physical activities are not possible because of Covid-19. That is why the Olympic organization launches, next to their digital sports program Special9, the "Special Olympics Courts of Dreams". Through this campaign, no less than 75 mobile sports fields will be laid out in the backyards of sports clubs throughout Belgium in the coming months. "The construction of the Courts of Dreams will give athletes with an intellectual disability more opportunities to continue playing outside their sport in a safe way," says Zehra Sayin, CEO of Special Olympics Belgium. For the construction of the mobile sports fields, the organization needs 1 million sports tiles. Anyone who wants to support the organization can sponsor sports tiles and help realize the sporting dream of 20,000 SOB-athletes.

Due to the current health situation, all physical activities and events of Special Olympics Belgium, like almost all other sports activities, have been cancelled. Athletes are no longer allowed to play sports together and no longer see each other. In order to keep active and connected while respecting the social distancing measures, Special Olympics Belgium launched the Special9 in September, where every month an SOB athlete challenges the whole community to share their sports videos with the hashtag #Special9. Later this month it will be the turn of the 3rd sport, namely basketball.

Special Olympics Courts of Dreams

In addition, the "Special Olympics Courts of Dreams" campaign, which encourages individuals, sports teams, sports clubs, sports federations and companies to donate sports tiles, is also starting today. Together with partners RSI, an international one-stop-shop for sports infrastructure and VersaCourt, a specialist in innovative terrain solutions for the most diverse sports, Special Olympics Belgium will be building high-quality outdoor sports fields at various sports clubs throughout Belgium in the coming months. 1 million tiles sold equals 62 500m², enabling the organization to offer a total of more than 75 clubs* a field.

"We are delighted to be able to reach our community with the Special9 and with the construction of the sports fields as we cannot physically come together for our annual National Games. It is a good way to motivate our athletes to stay active as there are currently not enough sports facilities for disabled athletes in Belgium. The more tiles sold, the more quality sports fields we can build together with RSI and VersaCourt in the coming months throughout Belgium. If our athletes are not allowed to come to sporting events, we will bring the sports to them," says Zehra Sayin, CEO of Special Olympics Belgium.

In the first phase, the initiative ensures that in the backyards of various SOB sports clubs throughout Belgium, sports fields will be built on which, among other sports, basketball, field hockey, volleyball, indoor soccer, ...* can be practiced. In the second phase, from June 2021 at the earliest, depending on the health situation, all the tiles will go back to the Olympic organization so that they can use them at their events as a sustainable investment and a long-term solution. Hans Borgers, Managing Partner of RSI, explains the cooperation: "If we work alone we are limited, but together we can achieve so much. We are very happy that we can help SOB achieve their goal of supporting more than 20,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities and giving them the opportunity to continue playing sports on quality sports fields".

The campaign website informs people about the "Special Olympics Courts of Dreams" and gives them the opportunity to donate tiles. The tiles can be sponsored for € 6.50 each, of which € 3 goes to the non-profit organization.

Special Olympics Belgium also encourages companies to sponsor tiles within their Corporate Social Responsibility commitment. They are given the opportunity to sponsor tiles or a complete field and to have them branded with the company name and logo. The field will bear their name. More information can be found on the company page of the campaign website.

1 million tiles sold equals 62 500m², allowing you to build the next number of full sports fields. The SOB sports clubs get the possibility to install smaller fields of for example 10x10m depending on the available space:

•    Handball : 40 x 20 m / 800 m² = 78 fields OR

•    Basketball : 28 x 15 m / 420 m² = 148 fields OR

•    Futsal : 40 x 20 m / 800 m² = 78 fields OR

•    Tennis : 36,57 x 18,29 m / 669 m² = 93 fields OR

•    Volleyball : 24 x 15 m / 360 m² = 173 fields OR

•    Indoor field hockey : 40 x 20 m / 800 m² = 78 fields

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