Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

Olympic energy for 
mentally challenged people 

In Burkina-Faso, “Special Olympics” takes mentally challenged people back to sports thanks to generous coaches and videos and digital easy tools.

In 33 Burkina Faso cities, (like capital-city “Ouaga”), the international sports training program and athletic competition for mentally challenged people are called “Special Olympics”. In June 2020, its members will help 350 athletes, children, and adults to practise sports again. The idea? After lockdown, it allows them to train and compete in various disciplines remotely: running (50 or 100 m), high jump, cycling, basketball, and soccer, with technical and individual circuits or bocce (similar to french bowls game ).

To respect social distancing and practice anywhere, athletes will work for months individually with a local coach and 2 volunteers. The 2 volunteers will film with smartphones training sessions and performances. Videos will be sent, via the WhatsApp app to the sports management in Ouagadougou. This pickup videos will testify how much work has been done and will officially create sports positioning. The main goal is “not to forget anyone after the crisis”.

“By practicing sports, we try to help fight Covid-19, says Sylvain Zingue, marketing and communication manager of the executive board of the Special Olympics Burkina and instructor of the project. Sports is an inclusion factor for people who are marginalized, it reenforces their immune system. It is also a great way to feel good. We are involved and united”. In Burkina Faso, 3 000 sportswomen and sportsmen have been identified mentally challenged.

July 2020