Tuesday,18 June, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1375, (4-10 January 2018)
Tuesday,18 June, 2019
Issue 1375, (4-10 January 2018)

Ahram Weekly

Women’s football to Chicago

The Special Olympics Egypt unified women’s football team is going to the US to join in celebrations marking 50 years of SO unity and empowerment, reports Abeer Anwar

SO Egypt women’s team in the final

A four-day Special Olympics tournament in Cairo among Tunisia, representing North Africa, Egypt, representing the Middle East and the United Arab Emirates representing the Gulf played a round robin. First and second place winners faced each other in the final. The Special Olympics Emirates men’s unified team qualified from the Middle East and North Africa region and the SO Egypt women’s unified football team will go to the 2018 SO Unified Cup in Chicago in July after beating the UAE 4-2. It is the first-ever SO Unified Cup, considered a World Cup.

“I am very happy with the effect of unified sports on the community as the players get in contact with their Special Olympics compatriots, mingle and help and work together to achieve their target,” Ayman Abdel-Wahab, SO MENA managing director and president, said. “So it is a golden chance for inclusion and acceptance, the basic pillars on which the Special Olympics movement was created.”

SO Emirates men’s team that qualified to Chicago

The Unified Football Cup will focus the world’s attention on the power of sport to transform lives and open minds while providing a global stage from which to promote acceptance for all people, with and without disabilities.

Chicago is hosting the SO movement’s 50th anniversary global celebration from 17-21 July 2018.

The spark that became today’s Special Olympics movement ignited at the first 1968 International Summer Games in Chicago. Five decades later, it is returning to the US city.

Abdel-Wahab honouring the Egyptian team

Also planned is a star-studded Global Day of Inclusion, where the public can “Play Unified” and join in fun athletic competition with Special Olympics athletes. There will also be the ceremonial lighting of the Special Olympics Eternal Flame of Hope, which will symbolise the burning passion for inclusion and justice for people with intellectual disabilities.

The inaugural competition will team people with and without intellectual disabilities from all over the world. A total of 24 football teams from every region of the world will take part. These include 16 men’s teams and eight women’s teams. The four-day event will be held at Toyota Park.

Adding to the SO Egypt success, the country is participating in the 2018 World Cup in Russia in June.

Special Olympics is the world’s largest sports organisation for people with intellectual disabilities, with 4.7 million athletes in 169 countries and millions more volunteers and supporters.

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