ABU DHABI 14 March 2018: Residents of Abu Dhabi will be able to witness a memorable sporting moment today as the Special Olympics Mena Games 2018 Torch Run takes place across the emirate.
Residents will be encouraged to step out of their offices to cheer on the carriers of the flame as it travels from the desert into Abu Dhabi’s centre, via several landmarks.
The run will start from Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque at sunrise. From there the flame will travel to Emirates Palace and then The Louvre before finishing at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.
The flame will eventually light the Olympic torch at the Games’ opening ceremony on Saturday evening.
The flame will be carried by Special Olympics athletes who will be supported by police officers from each of the emirates and sporting celebrities, including UAE football captain Ismail Matar and his teammate Ali Khasif, Michelle Kwan, the most decorated American figure skater and Raha Moharrak, first Saudi woman to climb Mount Everest.
Special Olympics IX Mena Games and Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 are a part of the UAE’s National Vision 2021 that highlights full integration of people of determination into everyday society. Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 will be the most ‘unified’ games in history and promise to offer an inclusive experience for those with and without intellectual disabilities.
More than 1,000 athletes from 31 countries will travel to Abu Dhabi to take part in Mena IX Games, which will be the first major sporting event ahead of Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019. Athletes will take part in 16 different sports that will be hosted in eight different venues including Adnec, Zayed Sports City, Yas Marina Circuit, NYUAD, Officer’s Club, Mubadala IPC Arena, Al Jazira Sports Club and Al Forsan Club.