From March 14-21, 2019, over 7,000 Special Olympics athletes representing over 170 countries from around the world will participate in the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019.
The Special Olympics International Board of Directors unanimously voted to award the 2019 World Summer Games to Abu Dhabi. The decision was based on a comprehensive bid proposal and a site visit by a board committee. Even more, the board was impressed by the United Arab Emirates' vision to create inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities throughout the UAE, the region and the world.
That vision begins with the United Arab Emirates and extends to their region and the world. The UAE is close to Asia, the Middle East and Africa, so the Games are expected to have a very broad benefit.Having the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi is revolutionary for our movement
The Games will be held in March 2019. In that year, the Games will be the world’s largest humanitarian and sporting event of 2019.
The news was greatly welcomed by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed, President of the United Arab Emirates.
"Hosting the World Games in the MENA region has been a dream and one of my greatest goals and we are ready to start turning the dream into reality," said Ayman Abdel Wahab, Regional President of Special Olympics in the MENA Region.
"We have the means, the desire, the motivation and spirit to host the 2019 World games," Wahab said. "It will undoubtedly be a life-changing event to raise awareness, break down stereotypes and a great tool to create an inclusive community."
Leaders from the UAE and the whole region expressed their gratitude and appreciation to Wahab, for greatly helping and assisting in every single detail to make UAE bid proposal a success.
Celebrating the announcement, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, tweeted: "UAE’s hosting of the 2019 Special Olympic World Games reflects the world’s confidence in UAE’s capabilities, youth & humanitarian image and we welcome the world’s best athletes to the UAE, congratulate Special Olympics leadership on promoting inclusion & tolerance through sport."
Also His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President & Prime Minister of the UAE & Ruler of Dubai, congratulated the UAE on winning the historic bid.
"Having the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi is revolutionary for our movement and for the Middle East Region," said Timothy Shriver, Special Olympics Chairman.