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Special Olympics athletes share skill and joy at MATP
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It takes further efforts for the persons with intellectual disabilities to walk out of door and integrate into society entirely, but these special children have already begun to share skill and joy with others at the Special Olympics in Shanghai.

The wife of Icelandic President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson talks to a Special Olympic player in the Pudong Swimming Centre, Shanghai, east China on Oct. 4, 2007. Icelandic President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson and his wife, who are on the visit to Shanghai, came here Thursday to cheer for Special Olympic players of Iceland.

The Motor Activities Training Program (MATP), which finished its two-day schedule on Thursday, is one of the four demonstration Sports at the Oct. 2-11 Special Olympics and competed by athletes with severe intellectual disabilities and incapable of participating in the competitive events.

Although the event features some easy motions such as ball kicking, rolling on cushion and standing jump, they are hard enough for these children who are even unable to articulate.

"I can do it myself," said Chinese athlete Zhao Zhenhua seriously when he had trouble in the rolling event on the cushion, refusing to take the hands of the volunteers around.

It took long for the chubby boy to finish his job, but the audience, judges and volunteers all cheered for him and clapped at his courage.

"The MATP has only been held in Ireland in 2003, and I'm proud the second MATP could be held in Shanghai," said Zhu Chenggang, director of the MATP Committee of the 2007 Special Olympics.

"The Special Olympic Games is a grand occasion to show humanity and care for the people with intellectual disability, and the MATP further promotes that spirit.

The MATP can make them improve their skills and enhance their health, thus playing an incentive role on them, he said.

(Xinhua News Agency October 5, 2007)

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