The competitions at the Special Olympics in Berlin have been running since Sunday. At the sporting event, people with mental and multiple disabilities compete in 26 sports. The Special Olympics are considered the world's largest inclusive sports event - of course it's also about victories and medals, but above all about togetherness.
Swimmer Esmeralda Encarnacion Despiau from Costa Rica demonstrated what that meant. In the quarterfinals of the women's 100 meter freestyle, her competitor Sara Ghandoura from Saudi Arabia lost her bearings and thought she had already finished the race after 50 meters. But there were only two lanes completed instead of the required four. Despiau finished her race in second, but then realized her opponent's mistake. And decided not to leave her alone.
Instead of leaving the pool, she swam back to Ghandoura and accompanied her on the remaining lanes to the finish. A moment of fairness that led to huge cheers and standing ovations from the audience in the Berlin swimming and diving hall in the Europasportpark. The scene is also causing a stir on social media. Many users praise Despiau's sportsmanship.
Ghandoura probably lost track during the race because the Special Olympics pool was halved and is only 25 meters long instead of 50. This change was probably fatal for the swimmer from Saudia Arabia: She probably thought that she had already completed 100 meters after two lanes, as usual. But she and Esmeralda Encarnacion Despiau created a scene right on the first day of competition that reflects the principle of the Special Olympics.
6,500 athletes from 176 nations will take part in the competitions, which will last until June 25th. "It's all about sport here, but of course not just about sport. It's about inclusion. It's about participation," said Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier at the opening ceremony on Saturday.
Sources: "Tagesspiegel" / TSN Sports on Twitter
Watch the video: Elvira and Inna want to show what they can do in Berlin. In Neckarsulm in Baden-Württemberg, intensive training was on the program before the Special Olympics.