Athletes and volunteers from all corners of Saudi Arabia took part in the spectacular Opening Ceremony of the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019.
The team of 50 athletes is the largest ever sent by Saudi Arabia to the Special Olympics. This has been made possible by HRH Princess Sara Bint Mashhoor Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, wife of HRH the Crown Prince, who is championing the Saudi Arabia Special Olympics team as part of her wider philanthropic agenda, which aims to provide opportunities for people with disabilities across the whole of the Kingdom to fulfil their potential.
The delegation, featuring athletes from eight regions of Saudi Arabia, was led in the opening ceremony byLama Nour, 20, athletics, and Nasser Al Dawsari, 22, powerlifting.
Twenty-one female and 29 male athletes are participating across 10 sports throughout the event, including basketball, bocce, athletics, powerlifting, roller skating, swimming, triathlon, table tennis, bowling, and unified sports.
More than 200 volunteers, healthcare professionals and athletes’ families are with Saudi Arabia’s delegation at the Special Olympics, which features over 7500 athletes from 192 countries.
Nasser Al Dawsari, one of the athletes leading the delegation, said: “I feel so much happiness in this moment. The opening ceremony was incredible, and to be here with Saudi Arabia is such an honour. I can’t wait to represent our Kingdom in the Games.”
The delegation and volunteers will support the national team and participate in a range of activities over the course of the Games, including providing health checks for athletes from all nations, participating in community engagement programmes and special activities for the athletes.
Dr Heidi Alaudeen Alaskary,Assistant to the Head of the Saudi Arabia Delegation, said, “The Special Olympics is more than just a global sporting event. For many athletes, it’s an important moment to be recognised for their ability and achievements, and a stepping stone to greater independence and to realising their potential in all aspects of life. The program of activities around the sports aims to make the most of this moment, and make a real difference to athletes lives long into the future”.
Following the World Games 2019, Special Olympics Saudi Arabia Federation (SOSAF) will continue to support Special Olympics athletes through a comprehensive ecosystem of programs, including athletics and physical activity coaching, healthcare, and more.