A Special Olympics summer camp at Dubai Sports World finished on Monday — but the journey is far from over for its participants.
Young people of determination say the summer camp has inspired them so much, they now aim to represent the UAE at next year’s Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi from March 14-21.
The camp’s final day included an exciting five-a-side football tournament with volunteers, Special Olympics UAE ambassadors and members of the Local Organising Committee playing alongside participants.
Due to the enormous success of the camp, organising partner, Just Play, is now launching football and cycling classes in Dubai for people of determination. The programme will launch in September.
Yousuf Al Hammadi, chief intelligence officer for next year’s Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi, said: “Everyone working together to bring to life such a rewarding six-week programme at Dubai Sports World has been a brilliant achievement. The event is a perfect example of unified sports bringing society together and including people of determination. This demonstrates the positive impact that next year’s Special Olympics World Games will have on the UAE.”
Anouar Idrissi, chief executive officer at Just Play, agreed: “Over the last six weeks, we have seen just how much sport can benefit and have a positive impact on people of determination. It has been a pleasure to work alongside Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 to put on the camp and we look forward to offering even more sports sessions to people of determination, across Dubai.”
Over the last six weeks, ambassadors for Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 and Special Olympics UAE athletes have been training with summer club participants to help develop their confidence and skills across a range of sports.
A number of ambassadors and supporters, including Egyptian professional triathlete Omar Nour; Emirati Olympic figure skater, Zahra Lari; member of team Angel Wolf Nick Watson, and the Al Wathba Female Cyclist Team attended the final event of the camp and helped with training, distributing awards and offering advice and support to participants.
The camp concluded with an awards ceremony recognising every participant. Each budding athlete received a medal from categories including: most determined, happiest player, love of the game award, most fun to watch, best footballer, best cyclist and best basketballer.
Next year’s Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi will be the most unified games in history, offering an inclusive experience for all beyond the already sizeable contingent of 7,000 athletes and 3,000 coaches who will be representing 170 countries from around the world.
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