Abu Dhabi: The Special Olympics UAE has kicked off its Road to Berlin campaign by launching training camps to prepare for the Special Olympics World Games Berlin, which will be held in June 2023.
Being one of the largest delegations from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, the country will be participating in 20 different sports with 75 athletes with intellectual and developmental disabilities, 32 unified partners, 46 coaches, medics, as well as administrative and technical staff.
The first of three major training camps kicked off in Al Ain in December 2022. In addition, athletes participated in other unified activities taking place across the nation, including the ADNOC Marathon, the National Table Tennis Championship, the Roller-Skating National Team Trials, the Mubadala World Tennis Championship, and the Asian Powerlifting Championship.
Special Olympics UAE athletes will compete in swimming, badminton, bowling, athletics, beach volleyball men’s team, volleyball women’s team, basketball, cycling, equestrian, and powerlifting.
Mr. Talal Al Hashemi, national director of Special Olympics UAE, shares that “as we prepare for the Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023, we are confident that our athletes can achieve many wins and medals. They will set an inspiring example as representatives of the UAE and will build on the legacy of our great success in the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019.”
“Before the start of the training camp in Al Ain in December, athletes were practicing and preparing through many regional and international Special Olympics events, such as the Invitational Games Malta 2022 and the Special Olympics Austria National Games 2022. We are proud of our athletes’ commitment, which was evident during the training,” the national director added.
UAE’s athletes were able to achieve many international wins, including 16 medals at the Invitational Games Malta 2022, 16 medals during their participation in the Special Olympics Austria National Games 2022, and second place for the women’s football team at the Unified Cup Detroit 2022.
In 2019, the country hosted the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi, which was one of the largest global inclusion sport events with the participation of more than 7,500 male and female athletes from over 190 countries.