Special Olympics Slovakia at the beginning of the new year 2022 offered their athletes a new sport – KARATE. Although karate is not an official sport of the Special Olympics, it is their recognized domestic sport. Karate is a popular and successful sport in Slovakia. The 1st Karate Club Pezinok cares about the development of the child’s personality and has an individual approach to it. Also, for these reasons this club was suitable for inclusion of athletes with down syndrome. The aim of the training is to teach athletes with intellectual disabilities the skills of KATA and KUMITE. Under the guidance of coaches: Juraj Gažo, I. class Karate coach, vice-champion of the world and 20 times Slovak champion, holder of 2nd Dan and Svatava Sulanová, world champion in kickboxing, 1st class coach in combat sports and holder of 1st Dan, are a guarantee of professional teaching and human approach to athletes with intellectual disabilities.
Two Special Olympics Slovakia athletes with intellectual disabilities Samko and Alexej are part of the above-mentioned sports club and its training process. They fit into the team without the slightest obstacles. Also, peers – athletes are natural in their behaviour and do not „address“ any different approach to their „comrades.“ This is an example of direct practice, where peers aged 12 to 14 are in one club and train and carry out all the instructions of the coach and are part of joint activities. We are already looking forward to their kata performance at the Special Olympics Slovakia social event.