India will be represented by a strong 255-member contingent at the Special Olympics World Summer Games to be held in Berlin, Germany from June 17 to 25. (More Sports News)
The contingent includes 198 athletes, who will participate in 16 disciplines, and unified partners and 57 coaches.
The Special Olympics World Games are the world's largest inclusive sporting event for people with intellectual disabilities.
A total of 700 athletes and unified partners across 190 countries will compete in 26 disciplines in Berlin.
Before their departure for Berlin on June 12, the Indian athletes will participate in a preparatory camp at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium from June 7 to 11.
Special Olympics Bharat will also organise a special send-off ceremony for the contingent at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Thursday, which will be attended by Sports Minister Anurag Thakur, Women and Child Development and Minority Affairs Minister Smriti Irani, Indian Olympic Association chief PT Usha, cricketer Yuvraj Singh and singer Sonu Nigam, among others.
Leading social activist and Special Olympics Bharat chairperson Mallika Nadda expects India to return with an impressive medal haul from Berlin.
"The competition part comes later, firstly it is all about participation. I expect over 150 medals from our athletes in the Special Olympics World Summer Games," said Nadda, who is also the wife of BJP president JP Nadda.
Nadda also urged the people to support the special athletes to help them become a part of mainstream society.
"They want dignity of life and sports help them get that. I urge everyone to help the in their endeavour. I also request state governments to recognise their hard work and efforts by honouring them with cash awards and jobs for their achievements," she said.
She lauded the sports ministry's endeavour to honour special athletes with cash awards of Rs 5 lakh, Rs 3 lakh and Rs 2 lakh, respectively, for winning gold, silver and bronze medals in international events.