Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019

Introduction Special Olympics Abu Dhabi:

Abu Dhabi: There are just 63 days to go until 7,500 of the most inspirational athletes in the world gather in the UAE for the World Games (Special Olympics Abu Dhabi).

The event will be the most unified in the 50-year history of the Special Olympics movement, involving people with intellectual disabilities in every aspect of the event.

The record number of participating athletes and Unified Partners, including the highest number of women to ever participate in a Special Olympics World Games, will compete in 24 officially sanctioned Olympic-style sports across 11 venues in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, while the build-up to the Games will be a nationwide celebration with the Law Enforcement Torch Run® and the Host Town program take place in all seven emirates of the UAE.

The event will act as a catalyst for inclusion, building a lasting legacy of improved health, education, and opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities long after the Closing Ceremony of the World Games.


As the UAE gears up to host the most unified Games in the 50-year history of the Special Olympics movement, new Special Olympics programs have been established in 13 countries across the world, taking the total number of programs participating in a World Games to its highest ever at 192.

The UAE has been at the forefront of a large-scale initiative to encourage and support the development of Special Olympics in international locations where programs did not previously exist, broadening access to dedicated training and opportunities to showcase talent for people with intellectual disabilities.

Home to more than 200 nationalities, the UAE’s diverse society and culture of unity and warm hospitality are reassuring factors in making the journey to the World Games for the first time, enabling young and aspiring athletes with intellectual disabilities to enter an international competition and benefit from the enriching experiences to be gained from participation.

22 nations: Africa

Burundi, Cape Verde, Chad, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea, Guinea, Bissae, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Mozambique, Niger, South Sudan

Asia Pacific
Nauru, Solomon Islands, Marshall Islands, Palau, Micronesia

Comoros, Djibouti,

North America
Barbados, Antigua


The emirate of Dubai will host three Special Olympics sports during the World Games in March.

Complementing eight world-class venues in the UAE capital, Abu Dhabi, where the majority of the 24 officially sanctioned Olympic-style sports will hold, Dubai’s state-of-the art Hamdan Sports Complex will host the World Games swimming competitions and La Mer will host the Open Water Swimming rounds, while the highly-anticipated athletics competitions will be held at Dubai Police Academy.

Hosting three Games sports competitions in Dubai will provide athletes in the two largest single participatory sports an opportunity to experience the world-class facilities and sport expertise of Dubai while further increasing awareness and engaging the Special Olympics movement among UAE residents.

This will enable even more people to cheer on the athletes and witness their achievements.


His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, met with the Host Town committees of the World Games and Her Excellency Hessa bint Essa Buhumaid, Minister of Community Development, at the Sea Palace in Abu Dhabi.

The Host Town program will hold from 8 – 11 March and will the largest cultural exchange program in the Middle East and North Africa.

The program will include visits to tourist sites and inclusion in UAE cultural experiences, in addition to providing workshops and opportunities for athletes to share their stories with local students.

It is the first milestone event that will be experienced by the delegations upon arriving in the UAE.

They will experience the rich culture and history of the UAE ahead of their participation in the Games, with over 7,500 athletes and 3,000 coaches from 192 nations visiting one of the seven emirates to live, eat and breathe true Emirati life.

The Host Town program is an essential part of Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhab 2019.

Many of the athletes who took part in the recent Special Olympics IX MENA Games 2018 said the Host Town program was the most memorable experience of their time in the UAE. —- Abu Dhabi 2019

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