Thursday,19 July, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1255, (23 - 29 July 2015)
Thursday,19 July, 2018
Issue 1255, (23 - 29 July 2015)

Ahram Weekly

The way to LA

Special Olympics Egypt will participate in the 2015 Special Olympics World Games to open on Saturday in Los Angeles, reports Abeer Anwar

Al-Ahram Weekly

Special Olympics Egypt is participating in the 2015 Special Olympics World Games with 68 athletes in 12 sports: boccia, athletics, aquatics, equestrian, bowling, basketball, handball, football, table tennis, tennis, powerlifting and badminton.

“The disabled Egyptian athletes were chosen from the national competitions that were held in all sports, Mustafa Shabana, head of the Egyptian delegation heading to Los Angeles, said. “The participating athletes represent almost all the Egyptian governorates and trained in a closed camp held at Tulip Hotel in Heliopolis to prepare for the Games. They were training day and night to raise Egypt’s name in such an international event,” Shabana said.

“I thank all the movement’s sponsors that gave our athletes the chance to participate in such a big event that is held every two years,” Khaled Noseir, SO chairman of the board, told reporters in a press conference held before the Games.

“Egypt has been participating in the Summer Games for a long time and our athletes have always been adorned with gold, silver and bronze medals. I hope they will be able to honour Egypt’s name this time as well since they are being spurred on by President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi, his attention and care.”

The Egyptians arrived in Los Angeles two days before the event. They are staying in host city San Diego.

Before any of the 7,000 Special Olympics athletes starts competing at the 2015 World Games, SO delegations from around the world will be treated to three memorable days of recreation, entertainment, and cultural exchange at their Host Towns.

As many as 100 communities across Southern California are signing up to serve as Host Towns in this pre-Games celebration, scheduled to take place from 21 July to 24 July.

The Host Town programme is a very special three-day programme that takes place prior to the opening ceremony of the Special Olympics World Games. At their Host Towns delegations of athletes from around the world will be welcomed and feted. The schedule of events will include getting to know community members, taking part in cultural activities unique to each area, and training and resting for the Games. The Special Olympics athletes will feel truly wanted and Host Town members will make friends for life.

Fourteen countries are representing the Middle East and North Africa region in the World Games: the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Qatar, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco, in addition to Egypt.

Palestine’s delegation was not allowed to travel to Los Angeles although it is well prepared for the event.

The 2015 Special Olympics Summer Games opening ceremony will be attended by the first lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, celebrating the commencement of the world’s largest sports and humanitarian event this year. Ms Obama serves as a honourary co-chair of the World Games along with President Barack Obama.

Performers at the LA 2015 opening ceremony include Stevie Wonder, Avril Lavigne, Nicole Scherzinger, O.A.R., Cody Simpson (featuring Special Olympics athlete Breanna Bogucki and YouTube sensation Madison Tevlin), J Balvin & Becky G, and Reach Up LA theme song creator Siedah Garrett.

With appearances by Jimmy Kimmel, Eva Longoria, Michael Phelps, Yao Ming, Greg Louganis, Stephanie McMahon and

Lauren Potter among others, the show is set to be one of the most inspirational events Los Angeles has ever hosted.

Directed by Emmy Award-winner Debbie Allen, the show will be brought to a worldwide audience.

With nearly 7,000 athletes and 3,000 coaches representing 177 countries, more than 500,000 spectators are anticipated to attend the World Games from 25 July to 2 August. Events are free and open to the public.

“The First Lady’s attendance complemented by the diversity of these talented performers will make the opening ceremony an extraordinary moment for Los Angeles and for the Special Olympics movement,” said LA 2015 president and CEO Patrick Mc Clenahan. “We look forward to sharing the excitement of the opening ceremony with millions of people worldwide.”
“The Special Olympics movement is thrilled and honoured to have First Lady Michelle Obama join us on the momentous occasion of our 2015 Special Olympics World Games,” shared Tim Shriver, chairman of Special Olympics. “Her vision of wellness, fitness and inclusion of all in sport is at the heart of Special Olympics and will be seen in the spirit of the athletes who travel from over 170 countries to come together for fierce and exciting competition. Her lessons conveying the critical importance of play and action are lessons that we hope all schools across the nation will embrace by welcoming Special Olympics Unified Sports programmes to their gyms, to their playing fields, and to the hearts of all their students.”
The 2015 Special Olympics World Games, with the unparalleled spirit, enthusiasm, teamwork, joy and displays of courage and skill that are hallmarks of all Special Olympics events, will feature 25 Olympic-style sports in venues throughout the Los Angeles region.
The opening ceremony, to be held in the historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, site of the 1932 and 1984 Olympic Games, is expected to attract 80,000 spectators.

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