Thu 05-10-2017 15:56 PM
ABU DHABI, 5th October, 2017 (WAM) -- Special Olympics International officials and representatives from major global and local organisations met today in Abu Dhabi at the Special Olympics Partner Summit to prepare for the World Games Abu Dhabi, 2019.
Official partners and sponsors for the event were invited to the summit to define the best means of collaborations between the Special Olympics committee and local partners to ensure long-lasting impact and full integration for people with intellectual disabilities in the community.
Since His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces received the Special Olympics flag in Abu Dhabi, preparations in the capital to host the games have been in full flow. Hosting the games in Abu Dhabi is a great opportunity for government organisations and private institutions to contribute to an event that will resonate with people across the world.
A number of speeches took place at the summit from speakers including the Right Honorable Lord Sebastian Coe, KBE, Chairman of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games, Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs, Mohammed Abdullah Al Junaibi, Chairman of the Higher Committee of the Special Olympics, Saif Saeed Ghobash, the Director-General of the Department of Culture and Tourism, and Dr. Ali bin Tamim, Director-General of Abu Dhabi Media, along with Mary Davis, CEO of Special Olympics International at the Inaugural Partners Summit in Abu Dhabi.
Speakers talked about the important role that Special Olympics play within the community and how such events bring people together, providing a catalyst for change for future generations.
Official partners for Special Olympics World Games 2019, including ADNOC, ADNEC, Abu Dhabi Media, The Coca-Cola Company, Etihad Airlines, Lulu Hyper Market, Mubadala Development Company, Deloitte, Education First, H.H. Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy, Lions Clubs International, Al Maskari Holding, New York University Abu Dhabi, Sedra Foundation, VPS Health Care, Yas Marina Circuit, and Zayed University Abu Dhabi, joined the Partners Summit.
Noura Al Kaabi, who is also Chair of Media Zone Authority - Abu Dhabi Two Four 54 and Chair of the Media and Marketing Committee for the Special Olympics World Games, said, "Special Olympics is much more than a single sports competition. The organisation serves almost five million athletes all over the world. Recognising the potential in every person with determination, the UAE has made huge strides in integrating our fellow nationals and residents into society, especially in schools and the workplace. The Special Olympics has really inspired a change in the way the world views and understands the critical need for greater inclusion, and in 2019, the world will see these stories unfold on a global stage, set right here in Abu Dhabi."
Mohammed Abdullah Al Junaibi said, "The people of Abu Dhabi with their hospitality and diversity represent the Olympic Games values of respect and appreciation of people of all abilities. We look forward to hosting this event, and we are incredibly grateful to be working with so many international and local organisations and companies; their support will ensure the success of the games as it allows us to reach people from all over the world and spread our message of harmony and tolerance."
He went on to say, "We are proud of our identity and trust in our ability to achieve our dream regardless of the challenges we face. In the UAE, we work to foster a community built on the highest standards of justice and understanding, and appreciate the value of all people from the world."
Mary Davis said, "It is hugely important for the government and communities to recognise the value in including people from all walks of life in everything they do. The vision of Abu Dhabi and the sponsors and partners who are backing the Special Olympics fits perfectly with our vision of inclusion and embracing diversity throughout society. There are so many ways our partners can get involved in Special Olympics and help to bring people with intellectual disabilities into their organisations and we cannot wait to work with them on implementing various initiatives in the near future."
The Higher Committee of the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 previously signed an MoU with ADNOC and Etihad Airlines as the official sponsors of the event.
As a part of the MoU, ADNOC’s headquarters will offer support services and host offices for the Special Olympics staff, as they work together with organisers and other bodies to ensure the success of the games.
Etihad Airlines will be flying in athletes, equipment, coaches, dignitaries and the media for the occasion, supported by Hala Abu Dhabi, the destination management company, and Etihad Cargo. Airline staff will be working with the Special Olympics team to share hospitality expertise in order to deliver the best possible guest experience. A wider programme of support and engagement in the lead up, during and after the Special Olympics will be developed by Etihad Airways in the coming months.
The Special Olympic Games is a global event organised every two years for athletes with intellectual disabilities. Abu Dhabi will become the first city in the Middle East to host the prestigious Special Olympics World Games, which is set to draw in more than 7,000 athletes from 170 nations, making it the world’s largest sporting and humanitarian event of the year.
During the World Games, athletes will compete in 22 sports, including athletics, aquatics, badminton, basketball, bocce (a ball sport belonging to the boules family, closely related to British bowls and French petanque), bowling, cycling, equestrian, football, gymnastics, handball, powerlifting, table tennis, tennis, roller skating, and volleyball.