Abu Dhabi, 23 February 2018: Rear Admiral Pilot Sheikh Saeed bin Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, Deputy Commander of the Naval Forces and his kids Mohammed, Theyab, Hamdan and Mubarak, H.E. Mohamed Rashed Al Hameli Deputy Director General for the Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development (ADCED) and Sheikh Zayed bin Nahyan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Shaikha Rawda bin Nahyan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Sheikh Mohammed bin Nahyan bin Zayed Al Nahyan attended the fifth Special Olympics “Walk Unified” event this afternoon at Umm Al Emarat Park in Abu Dhabi.

Also present today was British Ambassador Philip Parham along with a team of colleagues from the UAE British Embassy, and their families. Philip said “Abu Dhabi is gearing up to host the Special Olympics IX MENA Games, and World Games, and with that comes building awareness. Walk Unified is a fun way to bring the community together, and it’s a great opportunity to promote diversity and inclusion. I myself as a father of a daughter with Downs Syndrome understand the importance and have a particular interest in joining this community and being a part of such a great initiative.”

Triathlon ‘Team Angel Wolf’- a licensed non- profit entity; who work to encourage the inclusion of people with disabilities and for society to embrace their own health, walked alongside the British Ambassador today. Team Angel Wolf consists of a father and his 14-year-old son who has Intellectual and Physical Disabilities- they participate in races together.

Walk Unified is a weekly event that takes place every Friday from 3 – 6pm in Umm Al Emarat Park. The event aims to bring local communities together by encouraging them to adopt a healthy lifestyle and inclusiveness, supporting to integrate people with intellectual disabilities in community events as Abu Dhabi prepares to host the Special Olympics IX MENA Games from 14-22 March 2018 and Special Olympics World Games in March next year, which is set to be the biggest humanitarian and athletic movement in the world.

The Special Olympics IX MENA Games and World Games are part of the UAE’s National Vision 2021 that highlights the full integration of the people of determination into the community through the empowerment of sport. The Games will be the most ‘unified’ event in history and promise to offer an inclusive experience for those with and without intellectual disabilities.

Special Olympics IX MENA Games 2018 will host over 1,000 athletes with and without intellectual disabilities in Abu Dhabi from 14 to 22 March this year, to compete in 16 different sports, which 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.

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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.