THE Sultan Sulaiman Stadium in Klang was abuzz with cheers and laughter recently as 300 orphaned and refugee children from 10 homes took part in the first ever Homelympics event organised by Volunteers Unite and the Klang Rotary Club.
Guest-of-honour Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir officiated the event.
“I believe this is such an esteemed event as it unites volunteers, school students and underprivileged children in the spirit of sportsmanship,” she said.
“We want all these kids to succeed in life and become respectable people in their future. With that, I wish all of you good luck and have fun making new friends.”
The children from 10 homes in Klang — Anbe Sivam Charity Home, Pusat Jagaan Kanak-Kanak Istimewa Lagenda, Saint Barnabas Home, Rumah Saffiyyah, Rumah WAKE, Rumah K.I.D.S., Rumah Penyayang Ulin Nuhar, Yayasan Chow Kit, LaoTu Refugee Centre and Persatuan Kebajikan Lindungan Ikhlas — were separated into eight groups.
A zumba warm-up session was held before the games began. The children tried to move to the beat of Justin Timberlake’s Can’t Stop the Feeling, laughing while trying to follow the moves.
Each group comprised children and student volunteers from Interact clubs.
Among the games played was a relay run where participants had to run sideways.
The tug-of-war showed fantastic teamwork among the team members who had only gotten to know each other a mere hour ago. They strategised to come up with tactics to position each player to make for a strong pull.
The shot put had to be the most hilarious of all, as participants threw water balloons as far as they could. The younger ones, who participated in this game, were having fun by bursting the balloons and splashing water all over the ground and themselves. This eventually led to more laughter while the elder ones carried on flinging their “shot puts” as far as they could.
Pusat Jagaan Kanak-Kanak Istimewa Lagenda’s Daniel Raj, 11, was seen smiling away while getting himself a cup of water off the field.
“I like running. I’ve met some of my school friends here, so I’ve been playing with them and some new friends from my team,” he said.
Thivyah Muthurajah, 15, from the Anbe Sivam Charity Home was excitedly chattering with Belinda Subramaniam, 14, after the first game as they were lining up in the tent where free eye checks were offered.
The Homelympics organisers had arranged for eye checks and would be delivering the spectacles to the respective children who needed it.
“I’ve made a few new friends in my yellow team from different orphanages.
“I think everyone from every orphanage should come again next year and have fun,” said Thivya.
Belinda from the dark blue team said she had the most fun in the running events as she enjoys running.
“I hope they will have this event again next year. I want to come and try to win next time,” she said.
Volunteers Unite’s Lavin John said they were planning to follow up on their mission to encourage the children to play sports.
“Every home will get a box of sporting equipment. There will be badminton rackets and shuttlecocks, footballs, basketballs, volleyballs, rugby balls, skipping ropes, weighing scales and others.”
“It’s one thing to bring them here to play, but getting them to continue at their homes is something else.
“We’re going to do another sporting event sometime in the future and getting the same homes involved,” he said.