• Olympic champion, Allyson Felix, took part in a Special Olympics takeover at TrainYAS
  • The event saw dozens of athletes with intellectual disabilities taking part in sports and fitness activities alongside Allyson Felix and members of the public
  • Allyson Felix was officially presented with the challenge of training Special Olympics sprinters by NBA star, Kobe Bryant
  • People of determination were recently challenge by HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum to take part in Dubai Fitness Challenge

UAE, 14th November 2017: Olympic gold medallist, Allyson Felix, trained dozens of Special Olympics sprinters as part of a spectacular Special Olympics takeover at TrainYAS, Yas Marina Circuit, this evening.

The world-famous sprinter and Olympic World champion took part in a sprint clinic with a number of athletes with intellectual disabilities. The takeover saw dozens of Special Olympics athletes partake in various unified activities including cycling, running, a bootcamp and even a Zumba class with Clarey, a certified Zumba instructor with intellectual difficulties who will be volunteering at the Games. Members of the public partaking in TrainYAS were also invited to sign up as volunteers for the Games.

Allyson was recently challenged by NBA legend, Kobe Bryant, to coach Special Olympics sprinters for the upcoming Games and has been in the UAE for a series of events and clinics with the Special Olympics local organising committee this week.

HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, recently called for people of determination to take part in the Dubai Fitness Challenge on his Instagram account. He wrote: "In the UAE, the people of determination are our inspiration. I want to see them join the @dubaifitnesschallenge it won't be the same without them."

His Excellency Mohamad Abdulla Al Junaibi, said: “It has been a brilliant evening here at TrainYAS. Seeing Allyson and members of the public running with a number of Special Olympics athletes really summed up what the Games are all about: inclusion, tolerance, unity and goodwill. The Games are a catalyst to improve lives, to reach our collective full potential and to create greater social inclusion for people with and without intellectual disabilities both here in the UAE, in the region and globally and we look forward to welcoming thousands of Special Olympics athletes to the UAE over the next year and a half. We would like to thank Allyson and TrainYas for helping us to host this spectacular unified sports event tonight.”

Special Olympics IX Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Games 2018 will take place from 14 – 23 March 2018 and Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 will be held from 14 – 21 March 2019. The MENA Games and World Games are a part of the UAE’s National Vision 2021 that highlights full integration of people with disabilities into society. Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 will be the most ‘unified’ games in history and promise to offer an inclusive experience for those with and without intellectual disabilities.

As part of the Capitals vision for a health and active community Yas Marina Circuit opens the iconic Formula 1® to more that 5000 participants each week, for free through its StartYAS, TrainYAS and GoYAS programmes, sponsored by Daman’s ActiveLife. Participants can walk, run or cycle around the world famous Formula 1® track in a traffic-free, safe and friendly environment.

StartYAS will continue on 10th December 2017.

To register to volunteer, visit: http://www.abudhabi2019.org/volunteers

– ENDS –

Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019:
Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019, 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 feature 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.