Luke Wilson10 Mar 2019 AT 01:05 PM

Special Olympics arrive in the UAE

The Special Olympics World Games is a sporting testament to inclusion
Luke Wilson10 Mar 2019 AT 01:05 PM
Special Olympics arrive in the UAE

One of the biggest sporting events ever staged by the UAE is set to kick off this Thursday (March 14) as the Special Olympics World Games comes to our shores.

More than 7,500 athletes representing 190 countries will be jetting into Abu Dhabi for the week-long sporting showcase being held in the capital and right here in Dubai. Some 50 years since the first Games were held in Chicago, with 1,000 competitors from 26 US states and Canada taking part, the movement founded by John F. Kennedy’s sister Eunice Shriver has grown apace.

This is the first time the Games have been held in the MENA region and fans can expect some fierce competition as athletes with determination go for gold in the 24 Olympic-style sports involved.

Dubai is playing host to two of the blue riband events of the Games, with the swimming being held at the Hamdan Sports Complex just off the Emirates Road from March 15 to 20 and the athletics set to to be staged at the Dubai Police Academy (over the road from Mall of the Emirates) from March 17 to 20.

Each event (with the exception of Thursday’s opening ceremony) is free to attend, although its wise to register for tickets before you head down.

And as Khalfan Mohammed Al Mazrouei, the Games’ managing director says, he hopes us locals will come out to cheer on both the UAE team and the visiting nations. He adds: “We have over 25 countries competing for the first time, enabling people of determination from some of the remotest parts of the world to show their talent on a global stage – their determination to participate merits our applause.”

We couldn’t have put it any better ourselves, good sir.

When: March 14-21
Where: Dubai and Abu Dhabi
Contact: abudhabi2019.org

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