Image credit to Emirates News Agency
By Mahenau Leghari
The Special Olympics World Games are being held in Zayed Sports City Stadium, Abu Dhabi, starting on March 14. This is the first time that the games are being hosted in the Middle East North Africa in the twenty-nine years since the movement was founded. Special Olympics is the world’s largest sports movement that focuses on and empowers athletes with intellectual or physical disabilities.
Over 7,000 athletes from 170 countries will come to Abu Dhabi to compete in the Special Olympics in a series of sports, including badminton, basketball, bowling, cycling, football, equestrian, golf, judo, roller skating, sailing, volleyball, and kayaking, amongst many others.
The organization handling the arrangement of this international event is called Special Olympics UAE (SO UAE). SOUAE was founded in 1990 and have dedicated their work to provide athletes, both children and adults, with physical or mental disabilities with a sports platform for them to be included in competitions and games. They also provide their athletes with year-round training to help them develop their physical fitness, courage, and relationships with other athletes and families within the community.
This year, the Special Olympics are being held in Abu Dhabi as it is seen as a vibrant and lively city, full of tourism and trade. It is known throughout the Middle East as one of the most balanced regions in terms of both business and cultural offerings. Aside from the country’s rich history and heritage, the activities available on both land and water make it a great place to hold the Special Olympics.
Abu Dhabi is a rapidly developing emirate, with constant transformations in many aspects, like architecture and technology. Despite this, they are still connected firmly with their region’s Arab and Islamic roots, which represents the commitment to tolerance and hospitality that the Special Olympics is all about.