Six-time Olympic gold medallist Allyson Felix on Tuesday participated in a sprint training session with dozens of Special Olympics athletes at TrainYAS in Abu Dhabi.
“Seeing Allyson and members of the public running with a number of Special Olympics athletes really summed up what the Games are all about: inclusion, tolerance, unity and goodwill,” said Mohamad Abdulla Al Junaibi, chairman of the higher committee of the Special Olympics World Games.
Felix was challenged by US basketball all-star Kobe Bryant to coach the special Olympians and has been in the UAE for a series of events and clinics with the organising committee this week.
Mr Al Junaibi said: “The games are a catalyst to improve lives, to reach our collective full potential and to create greater social inclusion for people with and without intellectual disabilities both here in the UAE, in the region and globally and we look forward to welcoming thousands of Special Olympics athletes to the UAE over the next year and a half.”
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The UAE will host the Special Olympics IX Middle East and North Africa games next year with the world Games taking place in the capital in 2019. A variety of events have been held in the run-up to the events.
In preparation, New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) unveiled the facilities that will be used for the athletics and powerlifting events at both games. The world Games will feature seven days of competition in 24 sports, including cycling, judo, gymnastics, bowling, football and golf.