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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 14 November 2018

Weekly walk in Abu Dhabi encourages inclusiveness ahead of Special Olympics

Abu Dhabi walk aims to encourage the community to include people with special needs in sports

An athletic walk that includes everyone regardless of their physical and mental abilities attracted a wide range of participants to Umm Al Emarat Park on Friday.

They were all there with a common goal: to raise awareness and inclusiveness ahead of the 2019 Special Olympics.

Walk Unified has been taking place every Friday afternoon at Umm Al Emarat Park since January 26, and has attracted a wide range of walkers with a common goal; to raise awareness and inclusiveness ahead of the 2019 Special Olympics.

Walkers have included members of the royal family, people with special needs, members of the community whether athletic or not, hoping to practice a healthy lifestyle in a safe environment.

Among the participants this time was the British ambassador to the UAE Philip Parham, and a number of his colleagues and friends.

“The goal is to have fun and also raise awareness under the line of the important of the Special Olympics World Games,” he said in a video posted by the embassy on Facebook ahead of the walk.

“It is a great opportunity to promote diversity and inclusion, and I myself as a father of a Down Syndrome daughter have a particular interest,” he said.

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The inspiring Team Angel Wolf were also present to demonstrate to the world once again, how with a little help anybody can participate in sports.

Nick Watson has been joining races with his 14-year-old son Rio who suffers chromosome disorder since 2014. They have enrolled in 115 races – mainly triathlons – so far, where he swims with Rio in a Kayak, runs with him in a push chair and cycles with him.

As a regular triathlon participant, around four years ago his wife Delphine suggested that he includes their son in the hobby.

“In November 2014 was our first race, we swam 1.9 kilometres, cycled for 90 and ran 21; and from there I found how much my son enjoys being together as father and son.”

His son can walk but has difficulty with stability and therefore can never participate in a race on his own. “So this was only way we could do anything together, and that is what created Team Angel Wolf.”

Joining Mr Watson and his son were also his wife and 11-year-old daughter Tia, who has been joining races with her brother as well and has been a source of inspiration for her peers to do the same. The name of the team itself is inspired by Tia’s nickname “Little Wolf” and “we call Rio our angel for obvious reasons”.

“Our focus is very simple: we want to inspire the community to get fit and healthy and want to raise awareness about children with determination and that will inspire others about sports and inclusion.”

“I think the focus of being here today is spreading awareness and spreading an inclusion about children with determination,” he said.

“Our story has been starting to grow in the UAE, so we have been invited to walk today with the ambassador, and I think it is all building up to the upcoming Mena Games [next month] and to get people involved.”