The UAE has once again proven that the country is the world’s beacon of hope, inclusivity, and tolerance as the games for the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 begin.
Witnessing more than 7,500 people of determination achieve greater heights as athletes guided by their dedicated, unwavering coaches from more than 200 countries together with their loving families by their side and new-found friends from all over the world, the Special Olympics is indeed a spectacle of peace and harmony that uplifts the spirit of sportsmanship within everyone.
Philippine Ambassador to the UAE Hjayceelyn Quintana lauds the efforts of the UAE government as the country will be the first in the MENA region to host the global games. “The UAE once again sends a strong message to the international community in promoting positive change for people with intellectual disabilities and create a more inclusive society,” said Quintana.
One of the more than 200 countries participating for this year’s Special Olympics is the Philippines who has been an active participant since the establishment of the Special Olympics Philippines in 1979. Since then, the group – which has more than 6,000 athletes and unified partners, has joined more than 25 competition opportunities.
“The Philippines looks with high regard the Special Olympics international organization because the country firmly supports the group’s mission to help people with intellectual disabilities develop self-confidence, social skills and a sense of personal accomplishment through sports training and competition,” adds Quintana.
The Philippine Ambassador urges the Filipino community to show their support not just for the Filipino athletes that they’re rooting for but also to show the participants from other countries that their achievements are celebrated as well: “For the past months, the Philippine Embassy has coordinated with Special Olympics World Games Local Organizing Committee, to implore the Filipino community in the UAE to support and volunteer for the games.
“I continue to encourage the strong Filipino community across the Emirates to show their support to this largest humanitarian sporting event, by not only supporting the Philippine team in their competitions, but by watching all the teams in as many games as possible,” adds the Philippine ambassador.
Quintana wishes for the Filipinos’ spirit of sportsmanship to shine as they compete with the world’s best on a worldwide platform which is the Special Olympics: “I wish to welcome the over 7,000 athletes from over 170 countries, including 58 athletes from the Philippines, to the United Arab Emirates. I wish all the athletes best of luck as they represent their countries in the various athletic competitions. But more importantly, take time to enjoy your stay, try to form friendships and build new relationships.”
Photos from Special Olympics Media Portal and Special Olympics Philippines.