The Special Olympics arrives in Abu Dhabi exactly 100 days from now – and it sounds like it will be bigger and better than ever.
The sporting spectacle descends on the city from March 14 to 21 and this year sees a record number of countries participating.
It’s the first time the event has been held in the Middle East and North Africa in the 50-year history of the Special Olympics movement, with inclusion of people of determination with intellectual disabilities in every aspect of the event.
Some 7,500 athletes from 192 nations will battle it out for glory, with Abu Dhabi sports fans there to support them every step of the way.
And as the 100-day countdown begins, organisers are promising to make it an occasion for the UAE capital to remember.
Her Excellency Reem Al Hashemi, Minister of State for International Co-Operation said: “The UAE continues to be at the forefront of expanding inclusion and opportunity for people of determination throughout the region.
“So it is with great pleasure that I can announce that Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 will set a new record for the number of participating countries, with 192 nations represented.
“This will truly be the most unified World Games in the history of Special Olympics.”
Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 is the latest major sporting event to be held in the capital as it increases its reputation as a world-class host.
It was announced today that 22 new nations have signed up for the upcoming World Games, taking the total number participating to its highest ever at 192.
And each nation’s top athletes will be hoping to take home gold medals across 24 officially sanctioned Olympic-style sports, including track and field athletics, cycling and equestrian disciplines.
H.E. Mohammed Bin Abdulla Al Junaibi, Chairman of the Higher Committee for Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019, said:
“Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi will be the largest sports and humanitarian event in the world in 2019. It is clear that excitement is building across the UAE, and across the world, as preparations for this major event reach their closing stages.
“Today’s summit was an opportunity to see the depth and breadth of the work going on across the UAE to prepare for the World Games, bringing in partners from across all areas of society to celebrate the sporting achievements of people of determination and deliver our shared vision of a more unified and inclusive society.”