Abu Dhabi / WAM
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, visited the Special Olympics World Games, Abu Dhabi 2019, at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec) on Wednesday.
During the visit, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said that hosting the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 has given the country an opportunity to show the world how it is a model for coexistence, tolerance and openness to other cultures.
His Highness praised the efforts of the organising committee, members of the Higher Committee, and all the volunteers who contributed to making the Games a success. The Abu Dhabi edition of the Special Olympics, taking place from March 14-21, features 7,500 athletes competing in 24 sports categories, with record-breaking participation from 197 countries, making the Games the most unified ever in the 50-year history of the Special Olympics.
He also expressed appreciation for UAE nationals who have worked tirelessly to organise the Games, starting with holding the Hosting Town Programme from 7-11 March, which offered an opportunity to raise awareness about the UAE’s vision to create inclusive communities.
Sheikh Mohammed highlighted the patronage extended to the games by Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and his keenness to extend exceptional hospitality to the guests attending the Games.
Sheikh Mohammed commended the performance of UAE athletes who won a number of medals, enabling the UAE to top the Arab countries participating in the competition.
Addressing the participants His Highness said: “You have displayed strong willpower and have set an example for determination. We are proud of your achievements. Your determination to achieve excellence has created an example for all those who seek it. We wish you the very best.”
Sheikh Mohammed also visited the operation room, where he was briefed about its various sections and functions. During the tour, His Highness honoured a Saudi athlete
who won a gold medal in the athletics competitions.
His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and Dr Abiy Ahmed, Prime Minister of Ethiopia, also visited an event of the Special Olympics World Games, Abu Dhabi 2019, at Adnec on Wednesday. His Highness Sheikh Mohamed and Dr Ahmed honoured the UAE National Handball Team participating in the Special Olympics for winning the first place.
They are also reviewed the “Healthy Athletes Programme,” which aims to improve the capacities of every athlete and train them to compete in the Special Olympics.
His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed expressed his happiness at the competitive spirit of people of determination while noting the key role of volunteers and affirming the importance of empowering people of determination and adopting leading initiatives, legislation and laws that aim to enhance their capabilities and skills and integrate them into various sectors.
He added that opportunities must be provided to people of determination, to enable them to add to the overall advancements of their nations while explaining that the UAE, through hosting the Special Olympics, is sending its civilised and humanitarian message, highlighting the issues faced by people of determination, and empowering them in all countries.
Dr. Ahmed praised the UAE’s support for social initiatives and for organising international championships, including Abu Dhabi 2019, which represents the UAE’s civilised image and authentic values.
His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan was accompanied during the tour by Sheikh Khalifa bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan, Executive Director of the Martyrs’ Families’ Affairs Office of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court, and Mohammed Mubarak Al Mazrouei, Under-Secretary of the Crown Prince’s Court of Abu Dhabi.
During the visit, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum was accompanied by Dr. Amal Abdullah Al Qubaisi, Speaker of the Federal National Council; H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs; H.H. Sheikh Khalid bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Board of Zayed Higher Organisation for Humanitarian Care and Special Needs; Mohammad bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and the Future; Mohamed bin Abdullah Al Junaibi, Director of Presidential Protocols at the Ministry of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of the Higher Organising Committee of the Games, Khalifa Saeed Sulaiman, Director General of the Dubai Protocol and Hospitality Department, Sheikhs and senior officials.
Timothy Shriver, Chairman of the Special Olympics briefed Sheikh Mohammed about the various competitions taken place during the games. His Highness also attended part of a handball match.