All you need to know about Special Olympics World …

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Since the 1990s, Special Olympics UAE has participated in 12 MENA and World Games.

The Special Olympics World Games 2019 kicks off in Abu Dhabi on March 14. This is the first time that the competition is being hosted in the Middle East North Africa region since its founding 50 years ago. Special Olympics is the world’s largest humanitarian sporting event and a global movement which focuses on the empowerment of People of Determination with intellectual disabilities through the power of sport. Here is all you need to know.

Dates: March 14 to 21

Countries: 200

Cities: Abu Dhabi and Dubai

Venues: 9

Athletes: 7,500

Coaches: 3,000

Events: 24

Opening ceremony: Zayed Sports City

UAE: A beacon of inclusiveness

> UAE provides year-round sports training and athletic competitions in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. This gives them the 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 12 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

Sports on offer

>Athletics

>Badminton

>Basketball

>Beach Volleyball

>Bocce

>Bowling

>Cycling

>Equestrian

>Football

> Golf

>Gymnastics (artistic)

>Gymnastics (rhythmic)

>Handball

>Judo

>Kayaking

>Open Water Swimming

>Powerlifting

>Roller Skating

>Sailing

>Swimming

>Table Tennis

>Tennis

>Volleyball

Going beyond sports

The local organising committee of the Special Olympics World Games 2019 rolled out an extensive community engagement programme to raise awareness, educate and inspire the public with the Special Olympics movement, and encourage tolerance in the community about people with intellectual disabilities.

>Adopt a nation

It engages students with Special Olympics by promoting the study of the values and cultures of the nations’ competing in World Games 2019. The initiative is designed to engage the whole school, as well as the children who are typically sporty.

>Fans in the stands

It invites entities, schools and partners to attend the Games as a mean of encouragement to the athlete. The schools attend the Games based on the dates associated with their adopted nations competing on the day for support.

>Unified champions

In the spirit of inclusion, celebrities in the entertainment industry and world of sports from around the globe become ambassadors to raise awareness to the important work of Special Olympics.

>Unified sports

Unified Sports joins people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team. It was inspired by a simple principle: Training and playing together is a quick path to friendship and understanding.

>Walk unified

It aims to bring people together and inspire healthy lifestyles. The UAE has a broader goal to integrate people with intellectual disabilities into social initiatives and walk unified does just that.    

 reporters@khaleejtimes.com

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