Abu Dhabi, 13th January 2018: The Local Organizing Committee (LOC) of Special Olympics IX MENA Games 2018, which will take place from 17 - 22 March 2018 and Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 which will be hosted in the UAE capital in March next year, headed to the Mubadala Arena for the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam, to recruit volunteers who are willing to participate in the biggest volunteer effort to date in the Middle East.

The volunteer programme offers participants, with and without intellectual disabilities, the chance to be involved in the biggest humanitarian sporting event in the world. There are hundreds of possible jobs for Special Olympics volunteers in diversified sectors, including events management, protocol, media, marketing and many more. Some require specialized and advanced skills; many only need a positive attitude and the willingness to pitch in and help.

Volunteers will be involved in influencing positive change across the region and in changing perceptions of people of determination with intellectual disabilities. Over 3,000 volunteers have already signed up and there are still opportunities for many more, to participate. Those interested in volunteering can sign up on: http://www.abudhabi2019.org/volunteers

Abu Dhabi will be the first city ever to host both, the MENA and World Games, right after one another. The two Games are separate events, but very much related. Over 1,200 athletes of all abilities will descend upon Abu Dhabi from 17 - 22 March this year to take part in the IX MENA Games. Athletes will participate in 16 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.

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.)

Volunteers must be at least 14-years old and commit to a minimum of three days during the Games and all volunteers will be required to attend 16-hours of training ahead of the MENA Games.

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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.