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

Memorable moments from the archives
On this day

Mar 10,1985
Indian stunner

An inspired Indian side thrashes Pakistan by eight wickets to win the World Championship of Cricket. Hosts Australia have their thunder stolen by Ravi Shastri and the ‘team of the century’.

Mar 11,1979
Randy gets handy

Ice hockey hardman Randy Holt jolts more than a few Philly heads back as he smashes a new record for penalty minutes in an NHL game:  67, incredibly all coming in the first period.

Mar 12,1881
Wat a marvel

Andrew Watson makes footballing history by not only becoming the first black player to play an international but also by captaining Scotland to an incredible 6-1 demolition of England.

Mar 13,1985
I predict a riot

Football ‘fans’ run riot before, during and after an FA Cup quarter final clash between Luton and Millwall. Of the 41 men arrested, most turn out to be hooligans from Chelsea and West Ham.

Mar 14,1980
Total tragedy

Disaster strikes as LOT Polish Airlines Flight 7 crashes near Okęcie Airport in Warsaw killing all 87 crew and passengers, including 22 fighters from the US amateur boxing team.

Mar 15,2014
Bye Bye, Brian

One of Ireland’s greatest rugby players bows out in style as he helps his side edge out France 22-20 to secure the Six Nations Championship in his record 141st test for the men in green.

Mar 16,1872
Old betts is off

Wanderers win the first-ever FA Cup Final, beating Royal Engineers 1-0 thanks to a goal from Morton Betts. Fewer than 2,000 fans showed up, most others balking at the shilling ticket price.

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