16 athletes for Special Olympics

KUALA LUMPUR: Sixteen intellectually disabled athletes will represent Malaysia at the 11th Special Olympic World Games 2003 in Dublin, Ireland, from June 20-29. 

LUCKY TRIO: Tan Loo Yee (right), Parveen Kaur and Thong Weng pose for a picture with their mock cheque worth RM26,000 from sponsors HSBC. They are among 16 athletes going for the Special Olympics World Games in Ireland in June.

Six coaches will accompany them to the Games, which is being held outside the US for the first time, Chuah Poh Theong, the president of the Special Olympics Selangor and Kuala Lumpur (SOSKL), said on Monday. 

The Special Olympic World Games, for people with intellectual disabilities, had been held in the US every four years since 1968. 

The championships in Ireland will see 7,000 athletes from 160 countries competing in 18 sports -- athletics, aquatics, badminton, basketball, bocce, cycling, equestrian, golf, gymnastics, handball, power-lifting, roller skating, sailing, football, table tennis, tennis, tenpin bowling and volleyball. 

Yesterday, three athletes from SOSKL – Thong Kong Weng, 24, Tan Loo Yee, 19, and Parveen Kaur, 19 – received sponsorship from HSBC Bank Malaysia Berhad for a sum of RM26,000. 

Thong and Parveen will take part in bocce, a mini version of lawn bowls, while Tan will compete in the 100m and long jump. 

HSBC executive director Datuk Sulaiman Sujak handed over the sponsorship to Chuah at a ceremony at the bank here. 

The Dublin Games will be Malaysia's second appearance in the Special Olympics, having made their debut in 1999, when a team represented them from Sabah. 

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