Press release by Media Centre
Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE’s Armed Forces, Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 is an integral part of local, national and regional plans to expand opportunities for people of determination in line with Abu Dhabi and the UAE’s shared vision of a unified and inclusive society.
Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi will be the largest sports and humanitarian event in the world in 2019. From 14 – 21 March, over 7,500 athletes and 3,000 coaches, representing more than 190 nations, will participate in 24 officially sanctioned Olympic-style sports in world-class venues throughout Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The first ever Special Olympics World Games to be held in the Middle East and North Africa will also be the most unified Games in the 50-year history of the Special Olympics movement, with inclusion of people of determination with intellectual disabilities in every aspect of the event.
The organization was founded in 1990, dedicated to serving athletes with intellectual disabilities through sports competitions. SO UAE provides year-round sports training and athletic competitions in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in a sharing of skills, and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community. This initiative enabled the UAE athletes to compete in the Special Olympics MENA Games and the upcoming World Games.
Since the 1990s, Special Olympics UAE has participated in twelve MENA and World Games and has more than 5,000 registered athletes and Unified partners, in addition to more than 300 coaches.
In 2017, UAE athletes competed in more than 70 events. Over the years, Special Olympics UAE has taken part in – and hosted – numerous significant events, internationally and regionally.
The Local Organizing Committee (LOC) of Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019, in partnership with the UAE Ministry of Community Development and Host Town committees of each emirate, is preparing to host the world from 8 – 11 March .
The World Games’ Host Town Program will be the largest cultural exchange program in the Middle East and North Africa. It will see almost 11,000 athletes and coaches from over 190 nations hosted across all seven emirates.
The Host Town Program is the first milestone for the delegations and athletes upon arriving in the UAE for the World Games where they experience the rich culture and history of the UAE ahead of their participation in the Games.
The delegations will spend three days in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah to experience true Emirati hospitality.
Her Excellency Hessa bint Essa Buhumaid, Minister of Community Development and Chair of the Community and Legacy Committee of the Games, said: “Communities across the UAE are excitedly awaiting the Special Olympics athletes and look forward to welcoming them into their homes, community and their families.