Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi announces dates for 2018 Regional Games

Over 1200 athletes from 33 countries will compete at the Special Olympics Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Regional Games from 17 – 22 March 2018.

  • The 2018 MENA Regional Games will take place from 17 – 22 March 2018
  • Over 1200 athletes from 33 different countries will participate across 16 sports
  • The 2018 MENA Regional Games is the first major sporting event ahead of the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019
  • Registration for the Regional Games opens this month

UAE, Abu Dhabi, 11th September 2017: The Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 committee has announced that the Special Olympics Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Regional Games will take place in March 2018. From 17 – 22 March 2018, over 1200 athletes from 33 different countries will descend upon Abu Dhabi for the Regional Games; the first major sporting event ahead of the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019.

Registration for the Regional Games opens this month and closes on 15th November 2017. Athletes from the MENA region as well as international athletes from Canada, Russia, Monaco, Belgium, Austria, Chinese Taipei, Macau, Hong Kong, China, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Samoa, Bangladesh, Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso will be invited to participate in the Regional Games.

His Excellency Mohamad Abdulla Al Junaibi, Chairman of the Higher Committee of the Special Olympics World Games, said: “We are looking forward to welcoming thousands of athletes from across the world to participate in the MENA Regional Games 2018. This will be the UAE’s first opportunity to spread our message of inclusivity, tolerance and philanthropy. The MENA Regional Games are just the beginning for us as we look to empower our athletes and people of all abilities and disabilities across the UAE and the region.”

Ayman Abdel Wahab, President & Managing Director of Special Olympics MENA, said:

"With the 2018 Special Olympics MENA Regional Games just around the corner, this is a huge opportunity for Abu Dhabi to revolutionise the way in which people with intellectual difficulties are perceived in this region. As we celebrate 50 years of the Special Olympics this year, there is a huge focus on pushing the values that many of us share with the Special Olympics; inclusion, tolerance, acceptance and combating injustice within the MENA region, driven by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed. This is a great chance for all of us in this region to understand and dedicate ourselves more to these values. We will be forging harmonious relationships with leaders and governments across the world and we will play a key role in bringing together the leaders of tomorrow in support of a better world.”

Athletes will compete in sports including athletics, aquatics, badminton, basketball, bocce, bowling, cycling, equestrian, football, gymnastics, handball, powerlifting, table tennis, tennis, roller skating and, volleyball.

With just over six months to go until the Regional Games commence in Abu Dhabi, 184 Emirati athletes with intellectual disabilities are busy gearing up to compete across the 16 sports. Watch them in action, here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/d7uk7uw7eot55x0/SO%20No%20IV%20130617.mp4?dl=0

Abu Dhabi will become the first city in the Middle East to host the prestigious Special Olympics World Games. The event is set to draw in more than 7,000 athletes from 170 nations, making it the world’s largest sporting and humanitarian event of the year.

The MENA Regional and World Games are a part of the UAE’s National Vision 2021 that highlights full integration of people with disabilities into everyday society.

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About the 2019 Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi (AD2019)
The 2019 Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi, scheduled for March 14-21, will be the largest sports and humanitarian event anywhere in the world, with 7,000 athletes and 3,000 coaches representing more than 170 countries. The World Games will be an unprecedented display of the spirit, joy, courage and skill that are hallmarks of the Special Olympics movement. The largest single event ever held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the first Special Olympics World Games in the Middle East, the World Games features 24 officially sanctioned Olympic-style sports in venues throughout Abu Dhabi. The spectacular Opening Ceremony on March 14 is expected to attract 45,000 spectators while being viewed by millions worldwide via global broadcast partners ESPN and Abu Dhabi Media.

Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the 2019 World Games will be the most unified Special Olympics competition in history, with inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities in every aspect of the event. The Games are the most visible component of a planned series of initiatives by Abu Dhabi and the UAE to expand opportunity for people with disabilities, and to promote inclusion and understanding throughout the emirate, nation, and region. Plans for operation of the World Games include leaving a legacy of improved health, education, and inclusion that will benefit the UAE long after the event is over.

For more information on the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019, including volunteer and sponsorship opportunities, visit AbuDhabi2019.org, and see us on social media.

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Contacts:
Seven Media
Sharan Sunner
sharansunner@sevenmedia.ae
00971 55 698 4327

Tala I. Al Ramahi
Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019
tala.alramahi@abudhabi2019.org
+971 2 668 6889

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