The games will see one of the largest UAE delegations from the MENA region head to the German capital.
Special Olympics UAE has kicked off its Road to Berlin campaign as it launches its training camps to prepare for the Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023, held from 17 to 25 June in Berlin, Germany.
Lauded as one of the largest UAE delegations from the MENA region, The Special Olympics UAE will see 75 Athletes with intellectual and developmental disabilities, 32 unified partners, and 46 coaches across 20 sports descend on the German capital.
Berlin 2023 is the first full scale Special Olympics World Games since Abu Dhabi 2019.
The first of three major training camps kicked off last December in Al Ain. Additionally, Athletes participated in other unified activities taking place nationwide, including ADNOC Marathon, National Table Tennis Championship, the Roller-Skating National team trials, 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.
Speaking about the mammoth event, His Excellency Talal Al Hashemi, National Director of Special Olympics UAE, said: “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.”
His Excellency noted that prior to the start of the training camp in Al Ain in December, Athletes had been 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,” His Excellency added.
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As the Special Olympics UAE hosted the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019, it aims to continue the momentum during the Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023 and to work with various national and international stakeholders to further inclusion in sports, health, education and community at large.
Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 was one of the largest global inclusion sport events, with the participation of more than 7,500 male and female Athletes from more than 190 countries.
As part of the World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 legacy, UAE leaders announced 31 legislations, initiatives, and projects to better serve the needs and aspirations of People of Determination in sports, education, health, and culture and improve their overall quality of life.
Despite the Covid-19 pandemic in the following year, Special Olympics UAE continued its efforts to launch virtual events and activities. As the pandemic receded, Special Olympics UAE organised several sports forums across the UAE to ensure the steady and safe return of Athletes to pitches.
Last year, the Special Olympics UAE’s Athletes were able to achieve many international wins including 16 medals in 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.
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Image source Special Olympics UAE