Abu Dhabi has the unprecedented opportunity to host two of the world’s largest international humanitarian events this year, the Middle East North Africa (MENA) ‘Special Olympics Regional Games’ which will take place from 14-23 March 2018 and the ‘Special Olympics World Games 2019’. The ‘Special Olympics IX MENA Games Abu Dhabi 2018’ will witness athletes of determination (with intellectual disabilities), from the MENA region plus other countries, competing in different Olympic sports; whereas the ‘Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019’ will host athletes of determination (with intellectual disabilities) from all over the world.
Abu Dhabi will be the first city ever to host both, the MENA and World Games, right after one another. The two Games are two separate events, but very much related. The MENA event is being held at the same venues and facilities that will be used during the 2019 World Games. The MENA Region has a strong tradition of hosting Regional Games for its athletes and National Programs and this will be the ninth edition of the Regional Games. The MENA Regional Games are not only a signature event for the MENA Region but also a major Test Event for the 2019 World Games. With more than 1,200 athletes from 33 countries competing in 16 different sports, the Regional Games will provide more excitement, spectacle and inspiration than most sporting events.
Regional Games event shall include a Healthy Athletes Program with free health screenings and consultation for athletes and team members; a Family Workshop which is essentially a series of discussions and support sessions for the families of Special Olympic athletes; and a Youth Summit which provides an opportunity for young people, including athletes and Unified partners to learn more about Special Olympics and the value of inclusion, to meet and discuss how to promote the mission of Special Olympics in their own communities.
To prepare for the 2019 @WorldGamesAD, @SOMENA68 will be hosting 31 countries with athletes coming from an additional 5 Special Olympics regions at their upcoming Regional Games! #AbuDhabiPrepares #HereToParticipate pic.twitter.com/SEumE4wU6n
— Special Olympics (@SpecialOlympics) March 12, 2018