Tuesday,23 April, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1370, (23-29 November 2017)
Tuesday,23 April, 2019
Issue 1370, (23-29 November 2017)

Ahram Weekly

Special selections

Regional Games which promises to be the biggest ever, reports Abeer Anwar


#So MENA Regional Games # SO MENA Regional Games # SO MENA Regional Games
# # #

National games affiliated to Special Olympics Egypt began this week with the aim of choosing the players who will represent the country in the ninth SO MENA Regional Games starting in Abu Dhabi in March next year under the auspicious of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed.

The games will be the biggest such event. In addition to the participation of 16 countries representing Europe, Asia and Africa there will be a mini-World Games. Abu Dhabi will also host the first World Summer Games to be held in the MENA region.

Sherif Al-Foli, SO MENA Games and competitions manager, said 1,788 participants will take place in the event, 1,249 of them athletes. The 16 sports are bocci, athletics, swimming, badminton, unified basketball for boys and girls, bowling, cycling, weightlifting, unified football, gymnastics, handball, table tennis, tennis, volleyball, equestrian and skiing.

Special Olympics Egypt will compete in all the sports with 116 athletes followed by Oman 115, Algeria 52, Bahrain 31, Iran 36, Iraq 66, Jordan 33, Saudi Arabia 26, Lebanon 73, Libya 36, Mauritania 12, Morocco 28, Palestine 32, Qatar 27, Sudan 12, Syria 117, Tunisia 38 and the United Arab Emirates with 184.

Burkina Faso will be represented by 16 athletes, Ivory Coast 10, Bangladesh 28, Philippines four, Pakistan 20, Sri Lanka 32, China 20, Hong Kong four, Macaw eight, China Taipei 18, Austria 30, Belgium 17, Monaco four, Russia eight and Canada four.

It is a great chance for the whole world to see a country from the Gulf welcoming such a great number of athletes,” Ayman Abdel-Wahab, SO MENA manager and regional director, said. “I am sure Abu Dhabi will dazzle the whole world. I am also very happy that in spite of the tension and wars that the MENA region countries are suffering from, we can see a country like Syria participating with a great number of athletes, 117, and that is what we are after in the Special Olympics movement and that is why our movement is gaining pace and momentum. It puts aside all tension and concentrates only on the mentally disabled athletes, his family, health and welfare. That is why what is more important than winning is participating,” Abdel-Wahab said.

Special Olympics is the world’s largest sports organisation for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, providing year-round training and competitions to 5.7 million athletes in 172 countries.

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