In less than 50 days, on 14 March, the eyes of the entire world will be firmly fixed on Abu Dhabi as the UAE sends a message of inclusion to people across the globe with a spectacular Opening Ceremony for Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 at Zayed Sports City.
The world will come together to showcase humanity at its brilliant best and witness the largest number of athletes and nations take part in a parade at a Special Olympics Opening Ceremony as each of them prepares to showcase their sporting talent on a global stage.
7,500 athletes from more than 190 nations will walk into the Zayed Sports City arena in front of a crowd of more than 40,000 spectators, VIPs and Special Olympics officials.
The athletes will be accompanied by a number of international celebrities and sporting heroes who are passionate about driving the Special Olympics movement forward.
In line with the vision of Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 to be the most unified Games in history, involving people with intellectual disabilities in every aspect of the event, People of Determination are playing a pivotal role in conceptualizing, organizing, creating and staging the Opening Ceremony and its performances. They are the ‘Makers’ who are working hand-in-hand with an international team of technical specialists and performers to make their vision a reality at the Opening Ceremony, which will mark the beginning of the world’s biggest sports and humanitarian event of the year.
Working with teams of contributors and collaborators that will include current and former Special Olympics athletes, the ‘Makers’ will help shape performances that perfectly encapsulate the spirit of the Olympic dream that is shared by each of the 7,500 athletes who have travelled to compete in the UAE.
The ‘Makers’ initiative will act as a powerful platform to show the world that through working together, sharing ideas, inspiration, talent and vision, People of Determination have a powerful voice and are the catalysts for the change they want to see.
The Most Unified Games in Special Olympics 50-Year History
Zayed Sports City will host a celebration of inclusivity and imagination that will capture each athlete’s dreams of sporting achievement as Abu Dhabi fulfills its pledge to host the most unified Games ever held in the history of Special Olympics.
Khalfan Al Mazrouei, Managing Director of Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019, said: “The Opening Ceremony of the World Games will encapsulate the spirit, drive and passion of the athletes as they prepare to take part in the largest sporting event ever held for sportsmen and women with intellectual disabilities.
The ceremony will act as a dynamic and awe-inspiring display of hope, happiness, unity and inclusiveness that will project the shared message of Special Olympics, the World Games and the UAE – that People of Determination are an equal and essential part of our families, our schools, our workplaces and our communities. Through this ceremony, we will come together and show the world that intellectual disability is no barrier to achievement.”
Torch Arrival and Caldron Lighting
Special Olympics UAE athletes will complete the Law Enforcement Torch Run® by carrying the ‘Flame of Hope’ into Zayed Sports City and lighting a cauldron to mark the beginning of the Games.
A Special Olympics tradition since 1981, law enforcement officers carry the flame, which starts its journey with the torch-lighting ceremony on Mount Olympus in Athens. The Torch Run symbolizes courage and celebration of diversity uniting communities around the globe.
Attending and Watching the Ceremony
The Opening Ceremony takes place from 5pm on Thursday 14 March 2019 and will be attended by a host of notable personalities and will feature performances by international artists.
The ceremony will be broadcast live from Zayed Sports City to millions of viewers across the world by the Official World Games Broadcast Partners, ESPN and Abu Dhabi TV, under the umbrella of local media partner, Abu Dhabi Media.
Further details on participants, tickets and opportunities to watch the ceremony will be announced soon.