Partnership ensures the thousands of competitors can stay connected with friends and family around the world

19 February, 2018, ABU DHABI: UAE company Etisalat has been confirmed as the official telecoms partner of both Special Olympics IX MENA Games Abu Dhabi 2018 and Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019.

Etisalat is an official partner for both Games and will manage all connectivity throughout the multiple venues for the entirety of the games. To mark the partnership, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed today between Etisalat and Special Olympics UAE.

The agreement is important for the 1,000 competitors taking part in IX MENA Games from across the region and the 7,000 athletes from around the world taking part in the World Games, as it ensures they will have fast and easy access to free wifi, enabling them to stay connected with family and friends in their respective home countries.

The deal also includes free sim cards for Special Olympics staff, meaning no bills or data restrictions for those running the event.

Special Olympics IX MENA Games, which will run from March 14-22, will run across several of Abu Dhabi’s world-class venues, including ADNEC, Zayed Sports City, Yas Marina Circuit, NYUAD, Officer’s Club, Mubadala IPC Arena, Al Jazira Sports Club and Al Forsan Club. More than 20,000 overseas visitors are expected to join tens of thousands of spectators from across the UAE to watch what is likely to be the largest global event ever staged in the UAE capital. Signing Etisalat as the telecoms partner guarantees each venue will be provided with excellent internet connectivity and service.

His Excellency Mohamad Abdulla Al Junaibi, Chairman of the Higher Committee of Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019, said: “Having Etisalat’s support as our official telecoms provider for the Games is invaluable. There is a huge amount of work that goes on behind the scenes for a global event such as Special Olympics and having a partner such as Etisalat on board means that athletes can easily reach their friends and families, spectators can seamlessly get online whilst at our Games venues and that our staff have access to tools to ensure they can do their jobs to the best of their ability – all of these things will ensure the Games are a huge success.”

Abu Dhabi will be the first city ever to host both the MENA and World Games within a year of each another. The MENA Games and World Games are a part of the UAE’s National Vision 2021 that highlights the full integration of people with disabilities into society. The Games will be the most ‘unified’ in history and promise to offer an inclusive experience for those with and without intellectual disabilities.

Special Olympics is unique to every other Olympic Games and is recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). To be eligible to participate in Special Olympics, athletes must have an intellectual disability; a cognitive delay, or a development disability, that is, functional limitations in both general learning and adaptive skills (they may also have a physical disability).

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About the 2019 Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi (AD2019)
Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019, scheduled for March 8-22, 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 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.