Home Sports Joshua Agare: Beating Intellectual disability and storming the global platform

Joshua Agare: Beating Intellectual disability and storming the global platform

 

Joshua Agare speaks with a slight stutter in his voice, but his is a story of resilience, focus, and hard work.

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Mr Agare is among thousands of people with intellectual disabilities who have gathered in Berlin, Germany for the Special Olympics World Games.

He is part of Kenya’s Handball Unified Team playing in Germany, facing off with teams from countries across the world.

Mr Agare started out as a player and has risen to the level of an official of the handball game as a coach.

In Berlin, Kenya’s unified men’s handball team beat Bangladesh 6:3, Bharat 12:7, and lost to Denmark 6:9 in the division round matches.

Speaking in Berlin, Mr Agare said, “We do not want to be pitied but encouraged, and we can do it. If we get that chance, we can be smart.”

He also urged parents to let their children with intellectual disabilities be more independent and interact with the outside world as other people do.

“We (people with intellectual disabilities) can stay on our own by getting that confidence. And I encourage parents to just give their kids a chance. I know some of them are not given even a chance to see the sunlight and are locked away. But it is just a chance, and step by step, they will make it in life,” he said.

Thousands of people who are in Berlin participating in the games, though with some difficulties in their speech, hand and limb coordination, seeing, walking, and hearing, did not come with their caregivers and parents but were entrusted to their coaches.

The Special Olympics World Games are a true testament to the depths a person with intellectual disabilities can go despite the odds they face in their body’s health and capacity.

“For me, I am grateful because of the Special Olympics. To get this chance at the Special Olympics, and many others, including those who came with us and the partners. We can do it if we work together as a team. “In sports and on the playing field, we can do a lot and do it well,” added Mr Agare.

Chairman of Special Olympics Kenya, Thuo Chege, also spoke to the handball team on the sidelines of their game in Berlin. He said, “The story of Agare and many others is a story of transformation—from an athlete to a coach.”

Handball head coach Jacqueline Tabbya said that Mr Agare’s story was one of resilience, rising through the ranks of handball in the world of sports and remaining unlimited by his disability.

“We are proud to have nurtured Mr Agare, an athlete in the Special Olympics who now serves others with intellectual disabilities as a coach for Team Kenya. He was also selected as an international global messenger for the Special Olympics,” said Coach Tabbya.

As a messenger, Mr Agare is a spokesperson for the Special Olympics movement and is highly involved in the inclusion campaign for people with intellectual disabilities by challenging world leaders, policymakers, and society to empower those with intellectual disabilities

Coach Tabbya termed Mr Agare ‘a special Olympics hero who has grown from a player to a coach’, encouraging parents with children who have intellectual disabilities that their stars can shine on the local and international scale.

Patron of Special Olympics Kenya and spouse of the Deputy President, Pastor Dorcas also visited teams on the different playing fields to encourage them. She was seen hugging and warming up with them, as well as having pep talks with the athletes.

The games were graced by ambassadors, government ministers, and policymakers to share their wins and challenges in their respective countries in empowering those with intellectual disabilities.

From Kenya, the Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC) received an award for volunteering their students in medical camps for people with disabilities to help facilitate screening, education, and support for individuals and their families.

Team Kenya in Berlin comprises 66 players, participating in badminton, volleyball, beach volleyball, handball, boche, athletics, basketball, golf, cycling, and football.

The Olympic Stadium, where the Grand Opening Ceremony for the Special Olympics World Games 2023 was held in Germany, was built in 1936, and

Chairman of the Special Olympics, Timothy Shriver, said, “85 percent of those with intellectual disabilities never go to school, and if they do, it is substandard, neglected, under-resourced, and segregated. We urge the nations to open early childhood centres, and sports centres; we cannot do it alone.”

The Special Olympics organization was founded in 1968, and the sister of President John F. Kennedy, Eunice Kennedy Schriver, was a central figure in its establishment.

The nine-day Special Olympics World Games attracted more than 180 countries to Berlin, Germany.

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