Special Olympics World Games 2019: Inside Abu Dhabi’s Biggest Sporting Event

Lindsay Judge   |   03 - 04 - 2019


This March, Abu Dhabi played host to the Special Olympics World Games 2019 in the world’s largest sporting event of the year. The first time The Middle East has hosted the 50-year-old games which saw over 7,500 athletes from 200 countries including people of determination with and intellectual disabilities, compete in a range of sporting activities.


The games, which was hosted under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE’s Armed Forces, Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 is part of local, national and regional plans to expand opportunities for people of determination in line with Abu Dhabi and the UAE’s shared vision of a unified and inclusive society and also reiterate the country’s Year of Tolerance.



The games took place over seven days and saw great achievements, stories and incredible moments that have been recognised on a global scale. The finale which took place on the last night saw a spectacular closing ceremony held at Zayed Sports City.


Officials and dignitaries from the UAE and Special Olympics, including His Highness Sheikh Nahyan bin Zayed Al Nahyan Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Sports Council, Khalfan Mohammad Al Mazrouei, Managing Director of Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 and the President of Liberia, George Weah, led the celebrations. As well as performances by international artists Nicole Scherzinger and Keala Settle, and Middle Eastern performers and singers.



This year’s Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 was one of the largest, most inclusive and diverse World Games in the history of Special Olympics. The incredible achievements were celebrated in a huge outpouring of happiness from the artists and presenters on stage as well as the joy and emotion from every athlete, coach and spectator inside the stadium.