The Special Olympics UAE issued a study on the impact of the Special Olympics World Games, Abu Dhabi 2019, held in March, on the social integration of people of determination and their participation in international championships.
The study highlighted several key outcomes, including a 400 percent increase in the number of competitors, and a 50 percent increase in the number of sporting events, as well as an increase in the number of female competitors in 18 sports by 27 percent, and male competitors by 7 percent.
The study also noted an improvement in the quality of training and increased performance during the games, in which 182 medals were won by athletes from the UAE, which placed fifth in the international medal table and first in the Middle East and North Africa.
The performance of the UAE National Team at the games was also praised by the Special Olympics, the world’s largest sports organization for children and adults with intellectual disabilities and physical disabilities. The team, known as the “Team of Resolve,” was the country’s largest-ever sporting delegation, with 297 athletes supported by 94 technical and support personnel, participating in 24 different sports, including 18 events that involved both men’s and women’s teams and 12 that were new to the Special Olympics. The team was subsequently awarded the “Sport Achievement Award of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan” in 2019.
The study is also part of the directives of H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union (GWU), President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation (FDF), to advance women’s sports.
Talal Al Hashemi, Executive Director of the Special Olympics UAE, said, “We aim to invest in the heritage of the games and launch Special Olympics programmes around the UAE, in cooperation with our partners. Our programmes focus on achieving social integration with everyone’s participation, in light of the directives of H.H. Sheikha Maryam bint Mohamed bin Zayed, Honorary Chair of the Special Olympics UAE. Today, we are developing an integrated system that will be launched in multiple phases.”