Dhaka, Bangladesh
UAE hosts Special Olympics World Games 2019

UAE hosts Special Olympics World Games 2019

By Farhana Rahman

People across the UAE are being encouraged to turn out in full force to cheer on the 7,500 athletes from more than 190 nations who will be competing at Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 as part of the Fans in the Stands (FITS) initiative. With less than 20 days to go until the official start of the largest sports and humanitarian event on the planet, the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) of the World Games is calling on people to show their support for a more inclusive and unified society by cheering on all the athletes competing in 24 Olympic-style sports taking place across 9 venues in Abu Dhabi and Dubai from 14-21 March. FITS is open to everyone from corporations and private organizations, to schools, universities, clubs and government entities. Whether it is banners, flags or making some noise, the attendance of spectators is invaluable and will inspire the athletes even more as they go for gold at the world's largest sports and humanitarian event of 2019. FITS will be the driving force for large groups of people getting behind the athletes. The initiative is open to organizations of all types from corporations, to schools, universities and government entities. Through an ongoing educational outreach program that has seen schools throughout the UAE learn about disability and inclusion, FITS has already attracted more than 60,000 students across the nation. Presenting Partner ADNOC has pledged 500 staff members to attend the Games every day from 15 - 20 March, and partners KPMG and Al Masaood have also embraced the opportunity to commit employees to take part as fans. Among other entities who have already made their pledges and hope other companies across the UAE will follow suit are General Electric, Corniche Hospital, The Club Abu Dhabi, Haddins Fitness and EFS Facilities Services, which has committed 2,000 employees to attend World Games competitions in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Khalfan Mohammed Al Mazrouei, Managing Director at Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019, said: "The UAE is home to more than 200 nationalities, and with almost 200 nations coming to the Games we hope that this country's diverse population will come to cheer on not just the UAE team or their visiting home nations, but every single athlete of determination who is taking part in this event. We have over 25 programs competing for the first time, enabling People of Determination from some of the remotest parts of the world to show their talent on a global stage - their determination to participate merits our applause, and we hope to see every single person across the UAE at the Games pledging their support for a more inclusive world." On top of watching the 24 officially sanctioned Olympic-style sports, there will also be a Cultural Olympiad of family-friendly entertainment on offer in designated festival areas and other activities in Dubai and Abu Dhabi in celebration of the World Games. Organizations who want to get involved in the FITS program can email fans@abudhabi2019.org or visit www.meetthedetermined.com . Interview of Deputy Head of mission, UAE Embassy, Dhaka, Deputy Head of mission of UAE in Bangladesh Abdulla Ali AlHmoudi has interacted with the media on Special Olympics World Games, Abu Dhabi 2019 Question: The UAE is the host of Special Olympics World Games 2019 which would be held on 14th march to 21st march. Could you say something regarding this? Answer: Special Olympics are a global organization that serves athletes with intellectual disabilities. Under the patronage of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE's Armed Forces, Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi will be the first ever Special Olympics World Games in the Middle East and which will also be the most unified games in the 50-year history of the Special Olympics movement. This will truly be the most unified World Games in the history of Special Olympics. How is the preparation of UAE ? Answer: The people of Abu Dhabi are ready to welcome athletes, fans and families from every culture and every part of the world. Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 is the largest sports and humanitarian event in the world. More than 7,500 athletes from a record-breaking 174 countries are set to take part in the breathtaking spectacle. Some 3,000 coaching staffs will be on hand to assist the athletes as well as 20,000 volunteers to take charge of close to half a million expected spectators. Competitions will held in 11 venues throughout UAE's capital Abu Dhabi. It would be full of athlete profiles, event schedules, ceremony timings and travel information to ensure spectators get the most from the games. Question: Do you think it is the correct platform for intellectual disabilities? Answer: Of course, why not! Special Olympics go beyond games. It is a humanitarian movement that takes place 365 days a year through sports related activities. The aim is to deliver a range of programmes that the champions are beyond the games. Question: What do you expect from your country and will they be able to achieve its expected goal? Answer: The Special Olympics World Games is one of the largest sporting events on the planet, and inspires, promotes and advances a world of full inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities. 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. I hope, UAE team would achieve its expected goal. Question: Bangladesh is going to participate in such dignified arrangements. What do you expect from Bangladesh team? Answer: A team of 140 members of Special Olympics Bangladesh with athletes, coaches and officials will attend nine disciplines of the Special Olympics World Games. I think Bangladesh team would do better. I wish their success.

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