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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 September 2018

Abu Dhabi to host regional Special Olympics next year in run up to 2019 main event 

More than 1,200 participants expected for March 2018 games

UAE, Abu Dhabi, 11th September 2017: The Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 committee has announced that the Special Olympics Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Regional Games will take place in March 2018. From 17 – 22 March 2018, over 1200 athletes from 33 different countries will descend upon Abu Dhabi for the Regional Games; the first major sporting event ahead of the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019. Photo Courtesy: Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019
UAE, Abu Dhabi, 11th September 2017: The Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 committee has announced that the Special Olympics Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Regional Games will take place in March 2018. From 17 – 22 March 2018, over 1200 athletes from 33 different countries will descend upon Abu Dhabi for the Regional Games; the first major sporting event ahead of the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019. Photo Courtesy: Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019

Abu Dhabi is to host the Special Olympics Middle East and North Africa Regional Games in March 2018, it was announced in Monday, with more than 1,200 athletes expected to take part.

The event is for competitors with special needs and disabilities and will take place ahead of the UAE capital's hosting of the The Special Olympics World Games in 2019.

Registration opens this month and closes on November 15.

Athletes from the MENA region and Canada, Russia, Monaco, Belgium, Austria, Chinese Taipei, Macau, Hong Kong, China, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Samoa, Bangladesh, Cote d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso will be invited to participate in the Regional Games.

“We are looking forward to welcoming thousands of athletes from across the world to participate in the MENA Regional Games 2018," said Mohamad Abdulla Al Junaibi, chairman of the Higher Committee of the Special Olympics World Games.

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Abu Dhabi to host 2019 Special Olympics

Hosting the Special Olympics is a victory for the UAE's special needs community

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"This will be the UAE’s first opportunity to spread our message of inclusivity, tolerance and philanthropy. The MENA Regional Games are just the beginning for us as we look to empower our athletes and people of all abilities and disabilities across the UAE and the region.”

Athletes will compete in sports including athletics, aquatics, badminton, basketball, bocce, bowling, cycling, equestrian, football, gymnastics, handball, powerlifting, table tennis, tennis, roller skating and, volleyball.

Organisers said 184 Emirati athletes with learning or cognitive disabilities are gearing up to compete across the 16 sports.

Last year, the Special Olympics Board of Directors in Washington DC unanimously choose Abu Dhabi to host the games in 2019.

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