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What to Expect from the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019

On 14 March, The Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 will commence, and the excitement is building already. Yalla breaks down the event, so you can know before you go!

The Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 are almost upon us. In March, Abu Dhabi will be host to an event which will draw over 7,500 athletes from over 192 nations. The mission of Special Olympics is to enrich the lives of people with intellectual disabilities, through the joy of sports, and Abu Dhabi is thrilled to host them.

Commenting on the upcoming event, H.E. Mohammed Bin Abdulla Al Junaibi, Chairman of the Higher Committee for Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019, said, “Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi will be the largest sports and humanitarian event in the world in 2019. It is clear that excitement is building across the UAE, and across the world, as preparations for this major event reach their closing stages.”

The calendar of events, public access, and competition timings will be released closer to the Games, but in the meantime look out for volunteer opportunities, so you can mark your calendars to show your support of the athletes.

The events will take place in numerous venues across the city, including Zayed Sports City, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi Yacht and Sailing Club, Khalifa International Bowling Centre, Yas Links Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Al Forsan Resort, and Corniche Beach.

ADNEC is the main hub of the Games and will host one of the most iconic Olympic sports: basketball. It will also host ten other sports on its premises: table tennis, volleyball, gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, badminton, powerlifting, bocce, judo, handball and roller-skating. Hamdan Center in Dubai will be host to all the aquatic activities and the ever-popular athletics competition will be held in Dubai Police Stadium.

There will be numerous activations throughout the city to get involved with the Games and the athletes. Whatever your interest is, you can find an outing that’s just right for you at these Games.

Getting to host iconic events, such as the Special Olympics World Games, is often a once-in-a-lifetime honour for a city, so do not miss your chance to watch the Games or to volunteer. Your participation will go a long way to help propel the lives of these young athletes, so sign up and witness history being made in the capital.

For more information on Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019, including volunteer and sponsorship opportunities, visit

Meet one Special Athlete: Mohammed Al Tajer

At just 10 years of age, Mohammed Al Tajer won his first medal for the UAE at the 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games. It was an impressive entry onto the world stage for the equestrian athlete and one that whetted his appetite to medal.

Al Tajer says, “when I was young, about 10 years old, I joined the club but I did not know much about sport and equestrian, when I first saw the horses there I fell in love with them, and asked my mom to train in horse riding and be an athlete, It was the same year when I competed in the Special Olympics in China.”

Today, he has won an impressive 36 medals for his country, the most recent three coming at last year’s Special Olympics IX MENA Games Abu Dhabi, where he won one gold and two bronze medals.At only 21 years old, Mohammed now has his eyes set firmly on Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019.

Commenting on his support network, Al Tajer explains, “my family fully supports me through training and all the competitions I take part in. It is very exciting to have the audience cheering for me in the games.” He adds, “my challenge is giving the best effort each time I compete so I can make my country, my leaders, and especially my mom proud.”

When he’s not riding, Mohammed also enjoys athletics, karate, handball and basketball, although training twice a week with his horse at Al Ain Club is his priority. He also has a keen interest in music.

Mark Your Calendars!

Special Olympians and law enforcement officers from across the world will tour the seven emirates holding the Olympic flame during the iconic Torch Run, and it will be the very first time the event has happened in the Middle East! It will be from 4-14 March stopping at iconic UAE locations. The final leg of the Torch Run will be in Abu Dhabi on 13-14 March right before the Opening Ceremony at Zayed Sports City so come out to show your support for the athletes, officers, the Games, and the UAE host.

Interested in volunteering?

Volunteers must be at least 14-years old and commit to a minimum of four shifts during the Games. Volunteers are required to attend 16 hours of training ahead of the Games and there will be opportunities for those with and without intellectual disabilities to get involved.

To register, visit:


For updates, follow the games on social media at @WorldGamesAD

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