First international team arrives in Abu Dhabi for Special Olympics World Games
First athletes arrive ahead of largest humanitarian sporting event in the region this year
As time ticks down to the start of the Special Olympics World Games in the UAE, New Zealand is the first international team to touch down in the country to begin preparations for a week of sporting endeavour.
Athletes, coaches, delegation heads and medical support staff were greeted at Abu Dhabi International Airport by Peter Wheeler, chief executive of Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019.
The visiting team performed the Haka, a traditional ceremonial dance in New Zealand.
Athletes will be competing in eight sports, including athletics, swimming, bocce, equestrian, basketball, powerlifting, bowling and football.
The Kiwi team is one of 190 participating nations due to arrive in the capital and Dubai ahead of the Games taking place between March 14 to 21.
Nine venues across the country will host events in what will be the largest sports and humanitarian event in the region this year.
On Monday, hundreds turned out in Fujairah as the Flame of Hope torch tour began a 10-day journey across the Emirates before the start of the Games.
The torch is due to pass through Dubai and Abu Dhabi on Saturday and Sunday.
Updated: March 5, 2019 06:14 PM