The Sports

Athletic competition is the true heart of the Special Olympics mission and movement. Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founder of the Special Olympics, believed that people with intellectual disabilities, by training for and competing in sports, could develop pride, a true sense of accomplishment, and a clearer picture of their own value and potential. She also understood that by watching Special Olympics athletes compete, or by helping them through coaching or volunteering, people without disabilities would come to understand the athletes’ capacity for achievement, their desire to do their best, and the humanity we all share.

Special Olympics World Games athletes compete in 24 officially sanctioned sports, all following the rules and standards of the international governing bodies of each sport.

  • Athletics
  • Badminton
  • Basketball
  • Beach Volleyball
  • Bocce
  • Bowling
  • Cycling
  • Equestrian
  • Football (11-a-side, 7-a-side, 5-a-side)
  • Golf
  • Gymnastics Artistic
  • Gymnastics Rhythmic
  • Handball
  • Judo
  • Kayaking
  • Marathon
  • Powerlifting
  • Roller Skating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming and Open Water Swim
  • Table Tennis
  • Tennis
  • Triathlon
  • Volleyball

Competition will run from 15-21 March, with most activity centered around Adu Dhabi National Exhibition Center (ADNEC), Zayed Sports City, venues like Yas Marina Circuit and New York University Abu Dhabi on Yas Island and Saadiyat Island, and the beautiful Corniche.

For more information about the rules and standards of each of these sports, click here.

Thanks for joining our movement!

The Abu Dhabi 2019 World Games will be one to remember. We'll be in touch with updates about the Games and how you can be involved.