WASHINGTON D.C., USA - WTA Charities and Special Olympics International joined forces at the Citi Open in Washington D.C. as part of the WTA’s COME PLAY global community initiative.
Led by American tennis coach Wayne Bryan, WTA players Sloane Stephens and Darija Durak and WTA alumnae Katrina Adams and Megan Mouton-Levy played in a unified tennis clinic with 25 Special Olympics athletes and their partners celebrating two milestones: the 50th edition of the Citi Open and the 50th anniversary of the Special Olympics, which are also headquartered in Washington, D.C.
"We are thrilled to begin our COME PLAY community outreach initiative in Washington, D.C., and what better way to celebrate our effort on inclusion along with these two major milestones," said Ann Austin, WTA Senior Director of Community Development.
"We are proud to support Special Olympics with the first official COME PLAY activity."
Mary Davis, Special Olympics International CEO, added: "We are delighted to be partnering with WTA Charities and to be celebrating two 50th anniversaries, the Citi Open and Special Olympics. We share a vision of the world where every sport is an inclusive sport.
"Together we are making this vision a reality for everyone — for people with and without intellectual disabilities."
Unified Tennis is part of the Special Olympics Unified Sports initiative dedicated to promoting social inclusion through shared sports training and competition experiences. Unified Sports joins people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team. Having sport in common is just one more way that preconceptions and false ideas are swept away.
In addition to unified tennis clinics, the WTA is working to further develop their global alliance with the Special Olympics by establishing a mentor program with Special Olympic athletes preparing for the 2019 World Games in Abu Dhabi with WTA players, coaches and professional Staff.
Special Olympics International is celebrating its 50th anniversary by challenging people across the globe to join the Revolution is Inclusion campaign — an all-out effort to end discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities. The organization launching the campaign, led by Special Olympics athletes, because despite progress, exclusion is the reality for millions of people with intellectual disabilities in every aspect of their lives. The good news is: when the world chooses to include, #choosetoinclude, everything changes in a positive way for everyone.
Pledge your support by taking the Inclusion Pledge at JoinTheRevolution.org.
WTA Charities is the WTA's global philanthropic organization dedicated to making a positive impact across the globe. Our mission is to be a social responsibility vehicle built on the WTA's values to empower and provide for a better future. We're dedicated to combining, strengthening and enhancing the community and charitable efforts of the WTA through its members (players, alumnae and tournaments), along with our partners.