The sun was shining when the opening ceremony for Gothia Special Olympic Trophy (GSOT) took place earlier this day. Fourteen nation are represented and participated during the ceremony together with the founder Kim Källström, who is an old player for the Swedish national team. This year the tournament includes an Unified class, were people with and without intellectual disabilities plays together.
– It’s fun to see the tournament developing! This is a great way to keep up the integration, says Kim Källström.
Four teams from four different countries are participating in the Unified class. Indonesia, Russia, Slovakia och Lithuania. The team from Lithuania have played together for five years. Arnold Trakselis is 23 years old. He has no intellectual disability himself but have been a part of the team since the beginning.
– The best part of the team is that we gets to travel all together and show that we are all equal. Also that we play for fun, says Arnold.
All youth with an intellectual disability are welcomed to participate in the tournament were girls and boys play in the same team. Kim founded the tournament eight years ago. He wanted to create something for people that may not had the same condition he had growing up.
The name of the tournament changed from Kim Källström Trophy to Gothia Special Olympics Trophy this year. And Kim feels like they reached a milestone. The goal has always been to be a natural part of Gothia Cup and now both tournaments is called Gothia.
– I think the name is great! I have so many good memories from the tournament. When we entered the big opening ceremony at Ullevi with all the players and talked about us on stage. That is one of the best memories I have because it really felt that we was a part of everything, says Kim.
Arnold is quite amazed of the attention the tournament have. His team have played Unified tournaments in both Poland and Italy. In Italy the number of teams was more but the audience a lot less.
– The reception has been great in every way here! I’m surprised of the number of football fields and that football is so big in Sweden. Maybe your national team went so far in the World Cup because of that, says Arnold with a smile.
This post is also available in: Svenska