This week the Special Olympics IX Mena Games get underway with more female athletes competing than ever before in the regional event.
With 40 per cent of the visiting teams made up of sportswomen, these athletes are the living legacy of Eunice Kennedy Shriver – the pioneering woman responsible for the very first Special Olympics, held in Chicago back in 1968.
This year, of the UAE’s competing athletes, over half are female.
Gold medal hopefuls include Nadia Drieb and her table tennis teammates; Mariam Ahmed who competes in basketball; and sprinter Hamda Al Hosani who already holds a whopping 15 Special Olympics medals.
The UAE will have 141 athletes representing the country.
Of these, 64 are female.
In total, more than 429 sportswomen from 31 countries are set to compete across 16 sports.