Heads of Delegations (HOD) for Special Olympics programs across the world are currently in Abu Dhabi for a seminar which aims to ensure delegations are fully prepared ahead of Special Olympics World Games 2019.

HODs from countries across the MENA region including the UAE, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman and Morocco were in attendance alongside representatives from further afield such as China, Russia, India, Pakistan, , Great Britain, USA, Canada and Zimbabwe amongst others.

The three-day seminar kicked off yesterday (29th October) and featured briefings on Emirati culture and hospitality, the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) of the World Games and Special Olympics International (SOI). Over 100 HODs were given an overview of the upcoming World Games, due to take place from 14 – 21 March 2019, the Host Town Program, which is a Special Olympics International initiative that pairs delegations with local families to allow them to experience local culture ahead of the Games, details and tours of some of the venues the Games will be held in.

Khalfan Al Mazrouei, Managing Director at Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019, said: “It has been an inspiring and insightful experience to meet over 100 of the HODs due to participate in the World Games. As the UAE prepares to host the most unified Games in the history of Special Olympics, the LOC is committed to ensuring that every single delegation due to participate in the Games is thoroughly prepared and properly welcomed to the UAE.

“With less than five months to go, we are in the crucial stages of preparations and look forward to not only showcasing Abu Dhabi as a location for world-class events, but also showcasing its values of unity, tolerance and inclusion to the world.”

Over the next two days, the HODs will be provided with key information on programs such as Healthy Athletes, the world’s biggest health program for people with intellectual disabilities, which offers every single athlete participating in the Games free health screenings, and venue tours of seven of the Games venues. The HOD visit will come to a close on Wednesday with a desert safari event in the evening.

Over 7,500 athletes from more than 176 nations are gearing up to participate in what will be the world’s biggest sports and humanitarian event in 2019 and the most unified Games in the 50-year history of Special Olympics.