Special Games begin with bang

Los Angeles, July 28

The Special Olympics World Games began with a bang here at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Saturday with First Lady Michelle Obama opening the ceremony attended thousands of athletes and people.

The First Lady said the athletes were example to the millions of people after her husband and US President Barrack Obama had welcomed the participants through a video message. “My husband and I, we are so incredibly proud of you, and love you all from bottom of our hearts,” she said addressing the opening ceremony after Olympian swimmer Michael Phelps, diver Greg Louganis and skater Kwan joined the athletes in caring the Special Olympics flag at the festive inauguration which was watched by a strong 62,338 spectators.

More than 9,000 athletes from 165 nations are taking part in the tournament, the biggest sporting event in Los Angeles since the city hosted the Olympics in 1984.

After a number of entertaining performances from renowned artists, a 149-member team from Greece began the athletes’ parade that ended with a host nation’s delegation of 480 members. Special Olympics Nepal has fielded five players — four in Athletics and one in Bocce.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said the city “is the place of hope, acceptance and inclusion where people come from around the world to follow their dreams.”

He continued: “our city is home to every culture, every language and every nationality. So all of you here today, welcome home, you are in Los Angeles.”

Nepali athlete Pradip Adhikari was among the players who brought the Olympic Torch inside the stadium before Destiny Sanchez lit the flame with the help of Olympian gold medallist Rafer Johnson.