Team Nigeria in Group C for the Special Olympics Unified Cup Detroit 2022

The official draw ceremony for the Special Olympics Unified Cup Detroit 2022 to place teams into three groups was held on May 13, 2022, at the Detroit Athletic Club (DAC). In the male 11-aside division, Nigeria has been drawn into Group C alongside Japan and Jamaica.

The unified football tournament, modeled after the FIFA World Cup and presented by Toyota, will begin on the 31st of July in Detroit and will bring over 300 athletes from 25 countries around the world to compete in Unified Sports® which brings together athletes with and without intellectual disabilities to play on the same team, demonstrating how playing and competing together breaks down barriers and ultimately creates communities of acceptance and inclusion.

Special Olympics Nigeria athletes are upbeat as they intensify their training in preparation for the game. Team Nigeria’s first group stage match will be against Japan on the 1st of August 2022, followed by a match against Jamaica the following day.

Unified Cup Detroit 2022 grouping for male 11-aside division

The Unified Cup is expected to attract 10,000 spectators, 1,000 volunteers, and 500 family members and dignitaries, all with the common goal of breaking down social barriers through the joy of sport and the power of inclusion. Following the inaugural competition in Chicago in 2018, the Special Olympics Unified Cup Detroit 2022 will be the second tournament in this single-sport series.

SO Nigeria Selected to Compete in Special Olympics Unified Cup Detroit 2022

Special Olympics Nigeria has been announced among the twenty-five teams that will be participating in the Unified Cup 2022 presented by Toyota and supported by Hometown Sponsor, Ally Financial from July 31 to August 6.

The tournament will be hosted in Detroit, Michigan, USA, and is the second-ever tournament in this single-sport series, following the inaugural competition in 2018 in Chicago. Over 300 athletes with and without intellectual disabilities from around the world will join to celebrate the power of sports to drive inclusion through camaraderie, competition, and breaking down social barriers.

Other selected Special Olympics teams to participate in the tournament are:

Female teams – Burkina Faso, Caribbean (Haiti, Aruba, Bahamas), Costa Rica, Egypt, Guatemala, Bharat (India), Mexico, Russia, Slovakia, Serendib (Sri Lanka), the United Arab Emirates, and the U.S.

Male teams – Brazil, Hong Kong, Jamaica, Nippon (Japan), Korea, Morocco, Paraguay, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and the U.S.

Special Olympics Unified Sports brings together athletes with and without intellectual disabilities to play on the same team, demonstrating how playing and competing together breaks down barriers and ultimately creates communities of acceptance and inclusion.

Competition and events throughout the week are expected to attract more than 10,000 spectators, 1,000 volunteers, and 500 family members and dignitaries to the tournament. Additionally, the competition will be broadcast by ESPN and reach millions of viewers across the globe.

Special Olympics Nigeria Athlete Got Talent

The Athlete Got Talent is an initiative of Special Olympics Nigeria to showcase and promote the talents of people with intellectual disabilities (ID) in music, dance, and art using a unified approach.

The initiative commenced its first curriculum in August 2021, with a call for entry of unified teams (a person with and a person without ID paired). Those who met the selection criteria were admitted into a 3-month training program by certified professionals in Music, Dance, and Art. The participants were also taught how to use social media to promote their skills.

On the 4th of December, the 2021 pilot Athlete Got Talent initiative concluded with a grand finale in Ikeja, Lagos. The participating unified teams thrilled the audience in an entertaining and fun-filled way showcasing their fluid dance routines, captivating artwork, and enthralling musical performances.

Some highlights of the event were the electrifying group performance of the unified music and dance team members, the competitive performances of the unified teams, the recitals by students from invited special schools, and the performances by the guest artist.

The Manager, Initiatives Program, Ibiyemi Ayeni used the opportunity to commemorate World Disability Day 2021, by addressing the audience in a speech that was supported with a stage drama performed by the athletes. The message was a call urging all to stand for equal access to opportunities and services for people with intellectual disabilities as we work towards an inclusive and sustainable world. The event ended with an award and prize presentation to the winners of the competition in each category, and presentation of gift items to all participants.

Special Olympics Nigeria Pilots the Identification For Inclusion (ID4I) Solution

In a continuous effort to change the lives of people with intellectual disabilities (PWID), Special Olympics Nigeria is currently successfully implementing the ID4I (Identification for Inclusion) solution powered by the Mission Billion Challenge, and supported by the partnership of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC).

The solution aims to facilitate the registration and issuance of a unique and secure National Identification Number (NIN) to people living with intellectual disabilities and their families.  Thus improving access to opportunities and services for the inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities in our society and giving them further access to acquire vital documents and other social and welfare services beneficial to them.

The ID4I solution registration using a grassroot approach is currently ongoing in various special schools/inclusive schools within various local government areas across Lagos state. The activities entail coordinating information sessions for persons with intellectual disabilities and their families, providing orientation training to registration staff, and deploying mobile registration to capture biometrics within communities, hence encouraging the issuance of NIN to persons with intellectual disabilities. Special Olympics Nigeria believes pioneering this grassroot solution is key to driving inclusion and scaling up identification enrolment of PWIDs and their family members across Nigeria.

Special Olympics Nigeria educates Ojo community about Health through the Skillz for Life Family Health Forum

On the 9th of December 2021, Special Olympics Nigeria held the Skillz for Life Family Health Forum in Ojo – Badagry Axis of Lagos state, to educate people with intellectual disabilities, their family members and community about Malaria and HIV awareness and its prevention.

The event featured lots of fun-filled activities, including health talks on Malaria and HIV, voluntary counselling and testing for participants, and distribution of mosquito nets.

Several special schools for people with intellectual disabilities in the area were in attendance. They include: Aganju Aka Primary School Okokomaiko (Inclusive Unit), Lady Atinuke Oyindamola Memorial Home School, Badagry, Igbehinadun School for Physically and Mentally Challenged Children Okokomaiko, and our host school Community Primary School Afromedia, Ajangbadi, Okokomaiko (Inclusive Unit).

Family members and athletes who attended the event were very happy that the programme was brought to their area and looked forward to more Special Olympics Nigeria programming in their community.

Identification for Inclusion (ID4I) project Commences with Knowledge Sharing Session with NIMC

Special Olympics Nigeria is one of the winners of the 2020 Mission billion challenge supporting the Identification for Inclusion (ID4I) solution.

The ID4I project kickstarted with a knowledge-sharing session (KSS) with some staff of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC).

The session provided information on Special Olympics Nigeria, and the Special Olympics movement. Delving into intellectual disabilities, the causes, the various types, their uniqueness, and how to recognize and relate with people with intellectual disabilities. 

The goal of the session is to promote understanding of the different people with varying abilities as the process of registration of people with intellectual disabilities to obtain their National Identification Numbers (NIN). 

The envisioned outcome is the recognition and continuous inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities in Nigeria.

Our appreciation to the Mission Billion challenge for their support and NIMC for partnering with us to implement this solution.

Click Here to see more pictures from this event.

Athlete Got Talent: Special Olympics Nigeria Makes A Call for Entries

Building on the success of the Unified Art Project which was held in 2018, Special Olympics Nigeria is kicking off an initiative to showcase and promote the talent of people with intellectual disabilities (athletes) in entertainment.

The project tagged “Athlete Got Talent” aims to train interested athletes in Music, Dance, and Art over a 3-month period, thereafter they will compete at the grand finale event for the opportunity to be crowned winners in any of the three categories of the talent show.

Applications are now open and interested participants are urged to apply as a team of 2 comprising, a person with intellectual disability and a sibling without an intellectual disability on or before the 27th of August 2021.


📌 Interest and/or ability to either sing, dance, or draw.

📌 Each applying team should consist of 1 person with an intellectual disability and 1 sibling or family member without intellectual disability.

To Apply:

📌 Follow our Instagram handle @sonigeria.

📌 Form a team of 2 (1 person with intellectual disabilities (ID) and 1 sibling without ID).

📌 Make a 60seconds video clip showcasing your team’s talent. (Pick a category: Music, Dance, or Art).

📌 Post your video clip on Instagram or Facebook with the hashtags #AthleteGotTalent #sonigeria in your caption and tag us @sonigeria.

Alternatively, you can submit your video entries via WhatsApp to +2347032422294.

Deadline: Friday, 27th August 2021

We wish you all the best.

Countdown to the 2022 Special Olympics World Winter Games: 200 Days To Go

We are exactly 200 days away from the 2022 Special Olympics World Winter Games, in Kazan, Russia, the world’s largest sport and humanitarian event to hold next year. Special Olympics Nigeria athletes are full of excitement and are looking forward to the games, to join their counterpart from across the globe to showcase the incredible abilities that people with intellectual disabilities possess.

To commemorate the 200-day countdown, Kazan, Russia erected a dynamic monument in the center of the city. The monument features Zilant, a mythical dragon and mascot for the (Kazan Games), and a digital screen with a dynamic clock counting down the days until Opening Ceremony on 22nd January 2022.

The Kazan Games will offer 2,000 Special Olympics athletes and Special Olympics Unified Sports® (UCS) partners from 100 nations the opportunity to compete in seven sports: alpine skiing, snowboarding, floorball, cross-country skiing, figure skating, short track speed skating, and snowshoeing. In addition to sports competitions, the Kazan Games will focus on expanding the organization’s programming in inclusive health, education, and leadership.

To learn more and to get the latest update about the games, click here.

Special Olympics Nigeria Recognizes her Health Partners with the Golisano Health Leadership Award

On the 15th of June 2021, Special Olympics Nigeria honoured her health partners with the Golisano Health Leadership Award at an award ceremony in Lagos State.

The recipients of this year’s awards are Central Securities Clearing System Plc (CSCS), Max International, and Professor Folakemi Oredugba, a Special Olympics Nigeria Clinical Director.

These awards were presented in recognition of their amazing work and contribution towards advancing inclusive health, where people with intellectual disabilities in Nigeria can have continued access to quality healthcare services.

The Golisano Health Leadership Award is Special Olympics’ highest honor for Health Partner organizations and individuals.

News Update: Special Olympics Nigeria Skillz for Life program is back

After a break due to the coronavirus outbreak, our Skillz for Life program has resumed activities and we are currently implementing in the South Western part of Nigeria.

The Skillz for Life initiative sponsored by the ExxonMobil Foundation, provides malaria and HIV/AIDS education, free counselling and testing services to people with intellectual disabilities (ID), their families and communities.

The program is currently being implemented in four states namely, Ekiti, Ondo, Osun, and Oyo states in strict compliance with COVID-19 guideline. So far, coaches training for new volunteers have been conducted in Osun and Oyo states and a specialized training for master coaches, athlete leaders, parents and teachers held in Oyo state.

A Family Health Forum was also organized in Oyo state, with more still to come as the program implementation continues. Training for master coaches, athlete leaders, parents and teachers is also scheduled to hold in Delta state later this month.

Learn more about the Skillz for Life Initiative by clicking here.


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