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Special Olympics athletes from across South and Central America experienced the magic of portable Packabocce courts during the recent 2017 Latin American Special Olympics Games bocce tournament in Panama City.
Bocce is an ancient sport of Italian origin, similar to petanque but played within a court with raised sides.
Latin American Special Olympics Sports Director Domenico Carnevali said the inflatable 60 x 12-foot competition size Packabocce courts produced by Packaworld International had performed admirably over five days of solid competition play, and had captured a lot of people’s imagination.
Packaworld CEO Peter Roberts said the organisers of the Latin American Special Olympics Games had done an exceptional job of presenting an event that was true to the culture and values of Special Olympics.
“An event of this scale requires dedicated planning and coordination. I take my hat off to the Olimpiadas Especiales organising committee for delivering an extremely high-calibre event.”
Mr Roberts said bocce was an ideal sport to inspire people with intellectual disabilities as it not only provided a playing field where athletes could achieve, but also opportunities for people with and without intellectual disabilities to compete together. ‘Unified sports’ such as this could combat prejudice and encourage understanding.
“Events like this illustrate the value of investment in Special Olympics programmes. They help members of our society who might otherwise be left out to achieve and realise their potential at the highest level, showing what’s possible when we all work together.”
The Packabocce courts used at the Latin American Special Olympics Games will now be used as a resource to help Special Olympics deliver bocce and unified bocce programmes to new venues and players across Panama in years to come, leaving a lasting legacy and an enhanced playing experience.
“Across the Special Olympic regions around the world we continue to see Packabocce courts providing a great return on investment. They can be used time and time again and offer organisers the flexibility of taking the sport to places that were not previously possible before,” Mr Roberts said.
Over 800 athletes from 21 countries competed at the 2017 Latin American Special Olympics, which was attended by notable officials such as the President of Panama Juan Carlos Varela, Special Olympics International Chair Dr Timothy Shriver and CEO Mary Davis.
Special Olympics is a global organisation that changes lives by promoting understanding, acceptance and inclusion among people with and without intellectual disabilities.
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Images provided courtesy of Olimpiadas Especiales under CC BY-ND 2.0 licence.