- Published on 20 November 2016
North Africa region for the first time in the history
The Special Olympics international board of directors unanimously voted to award the World Games to Abu Dhabi based on a comprehensive bid proposal, a site visit by a board committee and the country’s vision to create inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities throughout the UAE, the region and the world. The games will held in March, set to be the world’s largest humanitarian and sporting event of 2019. The news was greatly welcomed by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed, President of the United Arab Emirates.
Hosting the world games in the MENA region has been a dream and one of my greatest goals and we are ready to start turning the dream into reality. SO MENA Regional President, Ayman Abdel Wahab said, we have the means, the desire, the motivation and spirit to host the 2019 World games. It will undoubtedly be a life time changing event to raise awareness, break down stereotypes and a great tool to create an inclusive community. He added.
Leaders from the UAE and the whole region expressed their gratitude and appreciation to Ayman Abdel Wahab, SO MENA Regional president, for greatly helping and assisting in every single detail to make UAE bid proposal a success.
Celebrating the announcement, HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, tweeted: "UAE’s hosting of the 2019 Special Olympic World Games reflects the world’s confidence in UAE’s capabilities, youth & humanitarian image and we welcome the world’s best athletes to the UAE, congratulate Special Olympics leadership on promoting inclusion & tolerance through sport." Also HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President & Prime Minister of the UAE & Ruler of Dubai, congratulated the UAE on winning the historic bid.