Abu Dhabi is hosting this year’s Special Olympic World Games for the first time in history and with only a few days to go, the city is finishing off the final preparations.
Last December it was announced that the UAE would dedicate 2019 as the “Year of Tolerance“, with initiatives towards making it one of the leading countries of tolerance and acceptance in the world. Being home to multiple different cultures, ethnicities and religions, the UAE provides the perfect environment for learning to accept everyone (in a time where increasing intolerance seems to be overtaking the world). Taking all of this into consideration, what better place than Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, to host the Special Olympics World Games; an event that promotes inclusivity for people with disabilities through sports.
Starting on March 14th, the games begin with a classic opening ceremony at Zayed Sports City. It will feature the 7,500 athletes (from over 190 countries) walk into the arena that’s expected to hold 40,000 spectators, VIPs and Special Olympic officials. Of course, no opening ceremony is complete without a big performance, this year it will be none other than Avril Lavigne… talk about a throwback!
Tickets to the ceremony are priced at Dhs100 per person, you can buy them here. Zayed Sports City will also broadcast the ceremony live so it will be available to view around the world.
The first step of the grand opening began yesterday as Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid and Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed met at the People of Determination Retreat in Abu Dhabi to light the Flame of Hope; a symbol to welcome the athletes coming to partake in the games.
My brother Mohammed bin Zayed and I lit the Flame of Hope as part of the Special Olympics World Games taking place in Abu Dhabi. The capital welcomes 7,000 participants from 170 countries in the Olympics that the Middle East hosts for the first time. Welcome to the UAE. pic.twitter.com/fAK9V2TLdC
— HH Sheikh Mohammed (@HHShkMohd) March 10, 2019
The competitions will take place in venues across Abu Dhabi and Dubai through March 14th to 21st. Sports include; basketball, bowling, kayaking, swimming, table tennis, football and much more! If you’re interested in volunteering there’s tons of help needed as they’re looking to gather a total of 20,000 volunteers to assist in medical care, translation, media and more. Shift times vary between 7am to 7pm, for more info click here.
Also published on Medium.