United Arab Emirates Hosts the 2019 Special Olympics World Games

The Special Olympics were held from March 14 to March 21 and brought together athletes from 190 countries

March 27th, 2019
Anna Hlavackova, News from Berlin
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Special Olympic World Games are a worldwide humanitarian event and a global movement focusing on the empowerment of people with intellectual disabilities through the power of sport. The Crown Prince Court led the winning bid efforts with a mission to promote positive social change for people with intellectual disabilities and create a more inclusive society.

The Games were founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the sister of president John F. Kennedy. Now, the Special Olympics movement provides athletes with intellectual disabilities with year-round support and training.

For the fist time since the movement’s founding over 50 years ago, the games were held in the Middle East North Africa region. Abu Dhabi welcomed approximately 7500 athletes from all around the world, and they competed in 24 summer sports, including gymnastics, swimming, basketball, volleyball, soccer, and more.

The Special Olympics Cauldron was jointly led by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of UAE and the Ruler of Dubai and by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed then inaugurated the games. The opening ceremony was also graced by important public figures from other nations, such as Presidents Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan, or Joseph Muscat, the Prime Minister of Malta.

The Games’ meaning reaches far beyond sports. The Local Organizing Committee of the Special Olympics World Games 2019 carried out a community program to raise awareness and educate the public about the movement. They employ celebrities as ambassadors, engage entities, schools, and partners, and promote sports training and friendship. The Games also include multiple cultural events, such as concerts and dance events, all of which are executed to promote inclusion and acceptance of intellectually disabled people from all around the world.


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