Working in partnership with Special Olympics Finland, the 2016 European Judo Championships for Cadets hosted in the city of Vantaa, was like none other before. A group of Special Olympics athletes worked as volunteers helping in many different tasks each day of the tournament.
Education and Youth Manager of the Finnish Judo Association, Marita Kokkonen further explained: “The idea was to show everybody that they can do normal jobs and that people with intellectual disabilities can take responsibilities. And they did it very well. We want to give them also the feeling that they are valued. Athlete Henri Kajan, 18 years old, for example operated the camera for the live stream and two female athletes including 22 year old Katva Vierto, helped in the kitchen as well as during the medal ceremonies. The main message is: Judo belongs to all!”
Special Olympics athlete Katva Vierto voiced her experience at the weekend: "Actually, it is not a new situation for me because volunteer work is normal in my family. The best thing was the medal ceremony. It was a big honour for me to present the medals.”