More than 3,000 participants at the Special Olympics National Games in Breda and Tilburg | Breda today

via: Haneke Marselis


Breda – With less than 100 days remaining until the start of the Special Olympics National Games, the cities of Breda and Tilburg are ready to welcome more than 3,000 athletes and coaches participating in 20 different sports. On Tuesday, the two cities launched the volunteer campaign for the National Games, which will be held from June 14 to 16.

It's a unique sight. Along the highway and various other places in the province of North Brabant, there are big smiling faces of athletes asking passengers to become volunteers. It is the launch of the volunteer campaign for the Special Olympics National Games, which are held every two years. From 14 to 16 June, Breda and Tilburg will host the largest multi-sport event for people with intellectual disabilities of 2024.

A record number of athletes who stayed up all night

He added: “Over the past year and a half, we have worked hard to make all preparations for the unique National Games. Registration is now closed: we can welcome 3,007 athletes and coaches, 2,044 people will soon spend the night at Safari Park Beekse Bergen – a record number – and our athletes will compete in 20 sports. Our sports clubs and volunteers are ready to welcome all our guests. “Don't forget our ambassadors who are happy to welcome their fellow athletes to Brabant,” says Foundation Director Fleur van de Laar.

Ambassadors steal the spotlight

Therefore, it is the faces of the ambassadors Jimmy, Mitch, Stephen and Paris that appear in the ads. The big smile is unmissable and invites you to sign up as a volunteer or contribute in some other way to the National Games in Breda and Tilburg. The field of participants traditionally consists of athletes from across the country. They have been training for some time to give their best performance before 100 days. Although these are the National Games, there are also guests from Belgium, Germany, France, Czech Republic, Bulgaria and the United Kingdom participating in the International Hockey Tournament, which is part of the National Games. “In cooperation with the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports, we have done our best to allow participants from Aruba, Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba to participate. “It will be a great sporting event with lots of smiling faces,” continues Van de Laar.

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In the near future, the organization aims to spread the story of the Special Olympics National Games in Breda and Tilburg. A special place has been reserved for side events in the lead-up to and during the event. “To involve people, we work together with the two municipalities, the province of North Brabant, the BrabantSport Fund, Uniek Sporten and several sports and healthcare institutions,” explains Brigitte van Haaften, President of the National Games Foundation Breda and Tilburg 2024. “With bocce, walking and urban sports, we have different activities for young and old to encourage “People want to become active themselves and participate in Special Olympics even if you are not (yet) an active athlete during the National Games and that is the legacy we would like to leave behind with everyone involved.”

A lot of attention will also be paid to this in communications in the coming months. For example, recordings have begun for a nine-part series that will be broadcast on Omroep Brabant in May and June. Leon van der Zanden travels to the National Games with ambassadors and gives a unique insight into the lives of athletes. “Our ambassadors have unique stories to tell. It's great that we've been able to capture those stories in the coming weeks. We also have a number of other great newsworthy moments, but we'll be releasing those soon,” says Van Haaften.

In Breda people can't wait for the time to come. Eddie Forster, sports consultant, looks forward: “In 100 days, it will already be time! I am sure that Special Olympics will become a real sports festival. Sports and exercise have an important place in many people's lives and are healthy. I hope that A lot of people come to see him anyway, I'll be there myself!

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The Special Olympics Rida and Tilburg National Games kick off on June 14 with an opening ceremony attended by 10,000 visitors in Bripark. Sports tournaments are scheduled to be held on June 15 and 16. For an overview of the locations and sports, visit

Special Olympics
The Special Olympics National Games are the largest multi-sport event for people with intellectual disabilities in the Netherlands and are organized under the auspices of Special Olympics Netherlands. Special Olympics Netherlands is part of a global movement in more than 190 countries committed to improving the lives of people with intellectual disabilities by organizing sporting events.

Amber Webster

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