Delegation marks the eighth time Bahrain has competed in a Special Olympics regional games

18 February 2018, Abu Dhabi: It has been confirmed that 31 athletes will represent Bahrain next month at Special Olympics IX MENA Games Abu Dhabi 2018.

The 31 athletes will compete across a number of different Olympic-style individual and team sports including: athletics, swimming, badminton, bocce, bowling, cycling, equestrian and table tennis.

IX MENA Games will take place from March 14 - 22 and will mark Bahrain’s eighth year of participation in the Special Olympics.

H.E. Sheikh Daij Bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, Chairman of Special Olympics in Bahrain and Counsellor to the Regional Chairman of Special Olympics said: “Our brothers in the UAE have always fascinated the world with their expertise in organizing international events and they always amaze us with their creativity and generosity.

“For the region to organize and host the world’s biggest humanitarian and sporting event, will reflect positively on our athletes, as they are empowered to be determinant in achieving great results.”

Sheikh Daij also commended the efforts made by all the national teams taking part in Abu Dhabi and highlighted the main goal of IX MENA Games to recognize people of determination as they fly the flag for their countries.

Founded in 1990, the Bahrain Special Olympics program is the third largest of its kind in the MENA region and includes 2,700 athletes.

In 2004, His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of Bahrain, was awarded the International Special Olympics Award in recognition of his contributions to supporting the Special Olympics movement at an international level.

Special Olympics IX MENA Games and Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 are a part of the UAE’s National Vision 2021 that highlights full integration of people of determination into everyday 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.

More than 1,000 athletes from 32 countries will travel to Abu Dhabi to take part in MENA IX Games, which will be the first major sporting event ahead of Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019. Athletes will take part in 16 different sports that will be hosted in eight different venues including ADNEC, Zayed Sports City, Yas Marina Circuit, NYUAD, Officer’s Club, Mubadala IPC Arena, Al Jazira Sports Club and Al Forsan Club.

Held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 will see the biggest humanitarian sporting event in the world coming to the Emirati Capital, marking its first debut in the history of the MENA region.

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About the 2019 Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi (AD2019)
The 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 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 and North Africa, 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 of determination (with intellectual 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.