The Special Olympics are all about participation, inclusion and athletic achievement. All around the world, athletes train hard and have amassed an impressive collection of world records throughout the Games’ history. Here’s some of the highlights:
Special Olympics athlete Ranveer Saini Singh has won the top spot at the Special Olympics Asia Pacific Golf International for the last four years and earned himself a place in India’s Limca Book of Records . Often compared to the Guinness Book of Records, the tome named him Person of the Year in 2014 and, just a year later, the 17-year-old who has autism scooped gold at the World Special Olympics, becoming the first ever Indian athlete to do so.
A strong effort
In 2015, Canadian powerlifter Jackie Barrett – known by his fans as The Moose – smashed not one, but three Special Olympics World Records. Squatting 277.5kg, deadlifting 297.5kg and bench pressing 122.5kg, his combined total of 697.5kg – heavier than a large horse – also set a new World Record in the sport. His achievements are the result of a lifetime of discipline after the athlete, who has autism, started lifting weights to bulk up during high school. With three world records and 13 gold medals to his name, the Nova Scotian has since retired.
Andreas Kolletis from Greece holds the Guinness World Record for the most referee qualifications across the most sports. The policeman is qualified to oversee an impressive 50 different disciplines including synchronised swimming, chess and wushu. A former decorated athlete in swimming and weightlifting, Andreas is also a Special Olympics weightlifting coach.
Success on the water
Two Special Olympic athletes from Kuwait are world record holders in scuba-diving. Meshaal Al Bader and Khaled Al Dousari both hold PADI World Records, the former for being the first diver with Down Syndrome to become certified, and the latter being the youngest person to get the same certification. The pair were also part of a ‘Journey of Hope’, a project setup by their fathers under the patronage of HH Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Jaber Al Sabah, the Emir of Kuwait. The initiative aimed to raise awareness of people with intellectual disabilities by sailing to 19 different countries during a 210-day voyage.
Win like a girl
The 2017 Special Olympics Winter Games set a new record for the most female athletes ever at a winter games. A total of 806 women from over 100 different countries participated in the event which was held in Austria. Among these were Raya Al-Hasany, the first ever female athlete to compete in a World Winter Games event for Oman, and Wisconsins’s Daina Shilts who netted the fastest time in the Super giant Slalom, beating out competition from both male and female competitors.
Join the next batch of Special Olympics record breakers by volunteering at the Abu Dhabi MENA and World Games. Sign up here