The athletes have been training in Guangzhou at a dedicated training centre … reports Asian Lite News.
The Chinese Special Olympics team was greeted with words of encouragement by Dr. Ali Obaid Al Dhaheri, UAE Ambassador to China, on Friday.
A small ceremony marked the team’s departure to the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi, held at the Guangzhou People with Determination Sports Centre, which was also attended by Rahma Abdulrahman Alshamsi, UAE Consul-General in Guangzhou, and Zhao Su Jing, Deputy Director of the Athletes Delegation.
The athletes have been training in Guangzhou at a dedicated training centre. A total of 110 Chinese athletes later departed to Abu Dhabi, to attend the largest sporting event ever held for sportsmen and women with intellectual disabilities. Competing in a broad range of sports, the team will participate in track and field, swimming, table tennis, badminton, football, basketball, weight lifting, gymnastics and bowling.
Al Dhaheri said, “It is excellent to see such a large group coming from the People’s Republic of China, demonstrating the devotion that a country which loves its sport has put into its Special Olympic team. We are proud to host athletes, and people with intellectual disabilities, who the event is terming ‘Athletes of Determination’. The Special Olympics has an esteemed history of changing the future and lighting the way for acceptance and inclusion. The UAE is proud to show its open and inclusive nature to the world, particularly in this, the country’s Year of Tolerance.”
The Deputy Director of the Athletes Delegation said, “All of our athletes have worked and trained hard to reach this point, and we are looking forward to a highly competitive game with 24 different individual and team sports. We are confident of a series of victories, beating our medal tally from last time. China also has a proud history of the Special Olympics having hosted a successful 2007 Special Olympics World Games in Shanghai, China, and we are delighted to carry this spirit forward once more to Abu Dhabi.”
Set to be the most unified Games in the 50-year history of Special Olympics, people with intellectual disabilities will be involved in every aspect of the event, with over 7,500 athletes and 3,000 coaches from over 190 nations welcomed. The Special Olympics hosts athletes with intellectual disabilities of all ability levels, to train and compete in 24 Olympic-type sports. To be eligible to participate in Special Olympics, athletes must have an intellectual disability, a cognitive delay, or a developmental disability.
The Special Olympics ensures good competition through a process called “divisioning”, which segments athletes based on abilities rather than on disabilities. This way, athletes can compete with other athletes of similar abilities and age. Divisions always include at least three and a maximum of eight athletes.
The Opening Ceremony takes place from 17:00 on Thursday, 14th March 2019, will be attended by a host of notable personalities and will feature performances by international artists. The ceremony will be broadcast live from Zayed Sports City to millions of viewers across the world by the Official World Games Broadcast Partners, ESPN and Abu Dhabi TV, under the umbrella of local media partner, Abu Dhabi Media.