But more than 20,000 will be needed for the bigger global games in 2019
9,000 volunteers sign up to help make Special Olympics in Abu Dhabi a success
Thousands of people have volunteered for next month's Special Olympics IX MENA Games Abu Dhabi 2018, organisers said on Tuesday as the capital counts down to the arrival of athletes.
In just over three short months, over 9,000 have signed up for the event, which is due to be held from 14 to 22 March.
Registration to volunteer for this year’s Games has now closed, but the search for helpers is still ongoing for the much larger Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019, which will need 20,000 volunteers to help run.
More than 1,000 athletes from 32 countries will travel to Abu Dhabi to take part in next month's Games.
Athletes will take part in 16 different sports that will be hosted in eight different venues including ADNEC, Zayed Sports City, Yas Marina Circuit, NYUAD, Officer’s Club, Mubadala IPC Arena, Al Jazira Sports Club and Al Forsan Club.
There are several possible volunteer roles including events management, protocol, communications, marketing and many more. Some require specialised and advanced skills; many only need a positive attitude and the willingness to pitch in and help. Those interested in volunteering can sign up on: http://www.abudhabi2019.org/volunteers
Ameera Al Muharrami, director of the volunteers programme at Special Olympics, said: “The volunteer programme offers UAE residents the chance to be involved in the biggest humanitarian sporting event the region has ever seen. Volunteers will be involved in influencing positive change across the region and in changing general perceptions of people of determination.
"The assistance of volunteers has often been noted at world sporting games and UAE residents have an opportunity to show their willingness, helpful and positive attitudes on a global stage.”
Both games are held as the UAE’s strives to support and include people with physical and cognitive disabilities. Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 will be the most ‘unified’ games ever, organisers said, and promises to offer an inclusive experience for those with and without intellectual disabilities.