Special Olympics Singapore and SportCares, supported by the Ministry of Education, have joined hands to organise the annual Play Inclusive competition since 2018 to promote inclusion in the community through shared sporting experiences between persons with and without intellectual disabilities and special needs.
At Play Inclusive, athletes with intellectual disabilities are teamed up with unified partners (who are persons without disabilities). A process called ‘divisioning’, where athletes are assessed for their playing abilities and then placed in a division where the athletes’ skills are similar, is used to ensure equal and quality participation. The presence of unified partners in each team is to encourage and facilitate meaningful game play, and penalties are imposed if unified partners dominate the game.
Unified teams have to train together in the respective sports for a minimum of eight weeks to qualify for Play Inclusive. Sports featured in Play Inclusive include badminton, basketball, football and floorball. In 2019, the sport of goalball was included in the competition, and fielded, for the first time, athletes with visual impairment.
Play Inclusive 2020
2020’s edition of the competition was reimagined, taking into account Safe Management Measures due to COVID-19. More than 100 participants and their unified partners joined in the first ever virtual sport training for a period of eight weeks before culminating in a finale that involved them meeting face-to-face for the first time since Circuit Breaker.
SportCares also specially curated a resource pack comprising exercise videos pegged at various levels of fitness difficulty (easy, standard, advance) that are suitable for all ability groups.