Special Olympics UAE athletes return with impressive haul of medals from games

The event was held in Malta.

Athletes of the Special Olympics UAE team have returned from the Special Olympics Invitational Games Malta 2022 with an impressive haul of 16 medals.

The UAE’s first international participation at a Special Olympics event since the onset of the pandemic saw the team secure six gold, eight silver and two bronze medals.

Competing as the only Arab country at the event, the team’s athletes competed in aquatics, bocce and bowling.

Decorated Special Olympics UAE swimmer Omar Al Shami achieved first place in the 50-metre freestyle and breaststroke securing two gold medals. Awadh Al Ketbi won silver in the 50-metre backstroke and 50-metre freestyle competitions. Mohammed Al Zubaidi won silver in the 50-meter butterfly stroke, and bronze in the 50-metre freestyle event.

Athletes Faisal Al Marzouqi, Shaima Al Naqbi and Hamda Murad each won gold in the singles bocce competition. Abdulaziz Al Gharib achieved bronze in the individual bocce competitions. In the male doubles competition, Abdulaziz Al Gharib and Faisal Al Marzouqi won silver. Hamda Murad and Shaima Al Naqbi won silver in the female doubles bocce competition.

In bowling, athletes participated in unified teams with Unified Partners, Reem Jamal and Abdullah Al Jaidi, members of the UAE national bowling team, as well as in individual categories.

Mariam Al Hosani won silver in the singles bowling category and Saleh Al Marri came in fourth place in the singles bowling category. The unified women team, Mariam Al Hosani and Reem Jamal, won the gold medal in the unified women doubles category, and the unified male team, Saleh Al Marri and Abdullah Al Jaidi, won silver in the unified men doubles category.

Speaking on the efforts of the team, Her Excellency Shamma bint Suhail Faris Al Mazrui, Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Chair of Special Olympics UAE, said; “We are proud of the impressive results achieved by Special Olympics UAE Athletes at the Malta 2022 Games. We expected them to do well, given the extensive preparations ahead of the games, as they were in a closed training camp just before they travelled to Malta, but they exceeded our expectations in every way.

“Their performance was both incredible and inspiring, reflecting the UAE’s strategy to support and empower People of Determination and empower them to participate strongly at international events.

“We are honored to dedicate this achievement to His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, the most prominent supporter of People of Determination. The Malta Games 2022 was an important continuation of the legacy of the World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 and positions the UAE at the forefront of inclusive communities.

“The results at Malta 2022 represent a great start to our preparations for the Summer World Games Berlin 2023, and our wider efforts with all community stakeholders to achieve inclusion for People of Determination, under the leadership of Her Highness Sheikha Mariam bint Mohamed bin Zayed.”

Only the most active Special Olympics organisations from around the world were invited to participate at the Malta 2022 Games.

Special Olympics UAE was given the opportunity because of its expansive development and provision of inclusive sports and programs that support People of Determination, which continued even throughout the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.


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Matt Cassidy

When he is not hunting for the latest piece of Abu Dhabi news, Matt is ticking off his UAE bucket-list experiences (although he does love to take a break to test out the fine restaurants and bars of the capital). An armchair sports lover, he is on a personal mission to attend every sporting event in the UAE to make out for most likely missing the big one in Doha in November.
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