Association of Tennis Pros (ATP) number one-ranked doubles duo, Mike and Robert Bryan, with 20 athletes from Special Olympic Shanghai, attend the Special Olympic Unified Tennis Experience at the practice court of Shanghai Masters on Tuesday, October 8, 2013. [Photo: CRIENGLISH.com/ Courtesy of Shanghai Bright]
A special charity event, the Special Olympics Unified Tennis Experience, was held on Tuesday at the practice court of the Shanghai Masters. The Association of Tennis Pros (ATP) number one-ranked doubles duo, Mike and Robert Bryan, attended the event to promote awareness for those with mental disabilities.
Beginning with a techniques clinic, 20 athletes from Special Olympics Shanghai received advanced tennis training from professional coaches attending the Shanghai Masters. The session was followed by tennis doubles matches, where Mike and Robert Bryan would choose one of the athletes to partner up with and the two teams would play against each other.
Mike Bryan said that the athletes from Special Olympics Shanghai were pretty good and showed great enthusiasm in playing tennis.
And Bob Bryan said that it felt good for him and his brother to support charity work like this; they were happy to use their tennis to do some good in the world.
The Special Olympic Unified Sports is an inclusive program that combines an approximately equal number of Special Olympics athletes and able-bodied partners on teams for training and competition.
Mary Gu, Regional President and Managing Director of Special Olympic East Asia, said that the unified experience not only provides an opportunity for the athletes to show that people with disabilities are talented and gifted, but will also help increase the public awareness of the Special Olympics and encourage more people to join this "dignity revolution."
According to the World Health Organization, people with mental disabilities account for around 3 percent of the global population, with a total of 200 million; this is the largest disability population and the most marginalized group in society.
The Special Olympics reached a momentous milestone in its 45th anniversary celebration in 2013. By the end of 2012, the organization had 4.2 million registered athletes worldwide, 1.18 million of them coming from the East Asian region.
This year's Special Olympic Unified Tennis Experience was co-organized by Special Olympic East Asia, Shanghai Juss Event Management Co., Ltd, Special Olympic Shanghai, and the Shanghai Special-Care Foundation.1 2 3