Under the theme “All Together,” the 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games were hosted by Abu Dhabi for the first time last month.
More than 7,000 athletes competed in 24 sports from more than 170 countries. The event was aimed to raise awareness among communities about the importance of supporting people of determination through the Games.
“[The] Special Olympics contributes to the promotion of positive thinking and acceptance of people of determination, and encourages young people to create social programs to integrate them and enhance their skills,” said behavioral analyst, Sharifa Yateem.
She added that their slogan is challenge and ambition, and they draw their dreams with signs of strength and hope, and they do not lack anything, rather, flooded with giving and creativity.
The Special Olympics celebrates all athletes with intellectual disabilities, regardless of what it may be, and ensures fair competition through a process called “division.” The athletes were divided into groups based on their ability, allowing equality of opportunity in the games.
“Their experience in participating in the Olympics was a unique experience, and we, as Arabs, are very proud of Abu Dhabi’s hosting of the Olympics. This is a clear indication of the UAE’s ability to organize such a global event,” said Marwan Washahi, head of the Palestinian delegation.
A large number of volunteers have participated in organizing this global event, providing support and assistance to benefit from the experience.
“I volunteered to contribute to the integration of people of determination in our lives, because they must be supported and supported in demonstrating their ability to interact positively with society,” said Alaa Ajawi, a volunteer at the Olympics.
Ammar Al Shamsi, a UAE national at the Olympic Games, said he feels “a sense of belonging and pride to my country’s efforts to encourage the people involved and to interact with the various activities organized by the Olympics.”
The International Special Olympics Movement was launched in the early 1960s and was founded by the late Eunice Kennedy Shriver, former President John F. Kennedy’s sister. The first Special Olympics Games were held in Chicago, U.S.A., in 1968 with a thousand participants. Los Angeles hosted the last edition of the World Summer Games in 2015.
Translation by Joyce Hussein Mansour