Hockey ID makes Special Olympics history at World Games 2023 in Berlin

There are 13 teams from four continents participating in the historical event.

Belgium, Bulgaria, Chile, Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Great Britain, Germany, Netherlands, Pakistan, Paraguay, and Spain made history during the Special Olympics World Games 2023.

Athletes with intellectual disabilities will play hockey as a demonstration sport, known as Hockey ID, from June 18 to 24. Germany, which is hosting the games, will have two teams.

“Hockey ID was chosen as a demonstration sport as one of the two sports from a pool of ten sports, with a key factor that sealed the deal for Hockey ID’s inclusion being the willingness of FIH, the EHF, and other national hockey associations to work in partnership with the Special Olympics,” according to FIH.

Teams are mixed gender and have squads of 10 players. The matches will be played in a 6-a-side format, on half-sized hockey pitches with each game consisting of two halves of 15-minutes. Each team will field 6 players at one time with 4 additional players available to be substituted in, FIH reported.  

Belgium, Spain, Great Britain, Egypt, Netherlands, Pakistan and Germany (team 1) have been placed in Pool A, while Paraguay, Czech Republic, France, Chile, Bulgaria and Germany (team 2) have been placed in Pool B.

“To have 13 teams representing 4 continents in the very first edition of Hockey ID being played at the Special Olympics, is a very proud moment for our sport and shows the global interest in promoting inclusiveness,” said Norman Hughes, who is the FIH Hockey ID Project Lead and the driving force behind Hockey ID’s inclusion in the games. “Our aim is to use the Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023 as a tool to inspire more nations to develop and grow Hockey ID.”

The Special Olympic games “will feature over 7,000 athletes across 26 summer sports from 190 delegations,” according to FIH. Games began June 17.

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