Going for gold during the Special Olympics 2019

The Special Olympics is currently underway, and it is shining a spotlight on accessible sporting events. As day five nears an end, we look at the achievements being made.

Being held in Abu Dhabi – the capital of the United Arab Emirates – athletes from across the world are competing in more than 30 individual and team sports.

CHANCE

Founded in 1968, the Special Olympics is a sporting competition for people with intellectual and learning disabilities. Started by Eunice Shriver – whose sister, Rosemary, had a learning disability – the Special Olympics was introduced to give Eunice’s sister and others with a learning disability more sporting opportunities.

Determined to make a change, Eunice invited people with intellectual disabilities to a summer day camp in her back garden in Maryland, US.

With an estimated 200 million people living with a learning or intellectual disability around the world.

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Athletes from all seven continents joined together to symbolically light the Special Olympics #FlameOfHope, signaling the beginning of seven days of sport, human endeavor & unity. A crowd of thousands, including people of determination, Heads of State, dignitaries, VIPs, celebrities, members of the community, families and fans were there to witness an incredible spectacle that encompassed the spirit of the Special Olympics, the goals of Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi and the vision of the UAE. #MeetTheDetermined #YearOfTolerance #AbuDhabi2019 #BeUnified #WorldGamesAD #PeopleofDetermination #Inclusive #InAbuDhabi #UAE #InnovateForInclusion #SpecialOlympics ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ شارك 7 رياضيين يمثلون قارات العالم أجمع مساء أمس في إيقاد #شعلة_الأمل في لفتة ترمز إلى انطلاق المنافسات التي تستمر لمدة 7 أيام نحتفي خلالها بالرياضة والارادة والتضامن. حفل افتتاح الأولمبياد الخاص الألعاب العالمية أبوظبي 2019 حضره الآلاف، من ضمنهم أصحاب الهمم، رؤساء الدول، وكبار الشخصيات، والمشاهير، وأبناء المجتمع، والعائلات والمعجبين، والذين احتفوا بالروح التي يعبر عنها الأولمبياد الخاص، والأهداف التي تسعى الألعاب العالمية لتحقيقها، ورؤية ودولة الإمارات العربية المتحدة. #ها_هم_أصحاب_الهمم #عام_التسامح #أبوظبي2019 #كلنا_معا #الألعاب_العالمية #أصحاب_الهمم #التضامن #في_أبوظبي #الإمارات #الأولمبياد_الخاص

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Caused by injury, disease, or problems with the brain: intellectual disabilities can cause certain limitations in the way an individual’s brain functions. However, this doesn’t mean people can’t partake in sport and achieve their dreams on a world stage.

This is where the Special Olympics comes in to play. 

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Athletes on the autistic spectrum, Down’s syndrome, cerebral palsy and more can compete in the Games. 

 As the Special Olympics 2019 continue, there has already been many achievements, gold medals and broken records.

GOING FOR GOLD 

Manali Manoj Shelke, from India, was an image of determination and patience during her weight lifting challenge, with the support of the crowd behind her, Manali went onto smash the weight lifting challenge.

Women have been breaking barriers and records throughout the Games. The UAE Women’s Basketball team went onto win two gold medals, sprinter Hamda Al Hosain also took home gold alongside her fellow country women.

All this, and so much more to look forward to during the rest of the Special Olympics.

ICYMI: Read our exclusive interview with Special Olympics Ambassador, Nicole Scherzinger!

Are you watching? Let us know what your favourite event has been on Twitter and Instagram.