The groundbreaking Special Olympics summer camp at Dubai Sports World came to a close at the end of July, but the journey is far from over for its participants.

Young people of determination from centres such as SEDRA, Al Noor and Manzil say the summer camp has inspired them so much they now aim to represent the UAE at the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019.

The rewarding program demonstrated the power of Unified Sports® to bring society together and include people of determination, highlighting the positive impact that next year’s Special Olympics World Games will have on the UAE.

After six weeks of training sessions with Special Olympics UAE athletes and ambassadors for the upcoming World Games Abu Dhabi 2019, the group developed their confidence and skills across a range of sports. The camp’s final day included an exciting five-a-side football tournament with volunteers, ambassadors and members of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) for the Games playing alongside participants.

Due to the enormous success of the camp, organising partner, Just Play, has decided to launch football and cycling classes in Dubai for people of determination from September 2018.

A number of ambassadors and sports enthusiasts, including Emirati Olympic figure skater, Zahra Lari; Egyptian professional triathlete Omar Nour; member of Team Angel Wolf Nick Watson, and the Al Wathba Female Cyclist Team supported the camp and helped with training, distributing awards and offering advice and support to participants.

At the end of the six-week program, an awards ceremony recognising every participant took place. Each budding athlete received a medal from categories including: most determined, happiest player, love of the game award, most fun to watch, best footballer, best cyclist and best basketballer.

The summer camp was organised with the support of Dubai Sports Council, Dubai World Trade Centre and official Special Olympics World Games 2019 partner Emaar Properties.