Jordan runs the MENA region’s oldest Special Olympics program and has had more athletes participate at regional and world games than any other MENA country

28 February 2018, Abu Dhabi: Jordan has confirmed that a total of 33 athletes will represent the country at Special Olympics IX MENA Games 2018 in Abu Dhabi.

The large number of athletes makes up the bulk of a 51-strong delegation, which includes 22 male and 11 female athletes. They will compete across 11 sports including athletics, swimming, badminton, equestrian, cycling, table tennis and weight lifting. IX MENA Games takes place from March 14 - 22 in Abu Dhabi.

Ali Shawahin, head of the Jordan delegation, said: “Hosting these games reflects the international confidence the UAE has for its facilities and readiness and will represent a beautiful image of the Arab society. I am very confident that the regional and international games in Abu Dhabi will be memorable moments in the world of Special Olympics and we wish all players and participating countries success and enjoyment.”

Jordan has a great history with Special Olympics, running the region’s oldest Special Olympics program. As a result, the nation has had more athletes participate at regional and world games than any other MENA country. Established in 1986, Jordan’s Special Olympics program has more than 1,000 athletes on its books from which it has chosen its IX MENA Games team.

His Royal Highness Prince Ra’ad Bin Zeid said that Jordan is pleased to offer its sincere congratulations to the United Arab Emirates and to the wise leadership of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, president of the UAE and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. Prince Ra’ad also sent his congratulations to the UAE’s Supreme Council Members and to the UAE people for their strong and bold initiatives to host and organize the IX MENA Games.

Jordan’s Special Olympics program and its sports for people of determination have always been well supported and received special care from the country’s leaders. In 2004, Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah was honored by the Special Olympics movement with a distinguished award in appreciation of her humanitarian efforts and support of athletes with intellectual disabilities.

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 31 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)
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.