IPOH: Three intellectually disabled students from Sekolah Semangat Maju will represent the country at the 11th Special Olympics World Games 2003 in Dublin, Ireland, from Saturday until June 30.
Abdul Hadi Ruslan from Sekolah Semangat Maju Sitiawan and Yang Chee Tat and R. Sures from Sekolah Semangat Maju Taiping would leave today with 13 other disabled children selected to represent Malaysia.
The three, aged 20, would join more than 7,000 disabled people from 160 countries in various athletics events. They would take part in the 100m, 200m, 400m and the 4x100m.
At a sending-off ceremony for the three at Sekolah Semangat Maju in Kampung Tawas here yesterday, Sures said that he was proud and happy to be selected and will try to get as many gold medals as I can for the country.
Abdul Hadi said the disabled should be given the chance to compete in various international competitions.
Coach S. Ramaniadu said he has set a target of at least eight medals from the three athletes.
Ramaniadu, who would accompany them, said several centralised training sessions were carried out including one in Cameron Highlands and one in Bukit Larut as the three would be away from home for almost three weeks.
State Welfare Department deputy director V. Muniandy, representing director Rafek Reshidullah, said the department would recommend to Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohd Tajol Rosli Ghazali that incentives be given if the athletes from Perak won medals.
Perak Special Olympics president Joseph Lau Tee Sun said this was the first time a team was being sent for the Special Olympics since the setting up of the association in 2001.
He said 21 people would leave for Dublin, including four coaches and a team leader.
He said six athletes were from Sabah, four from Sarawak and three each from Perak and Selangor.