H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Salem bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Deputy Ruler of Sharjah and Deputy Chairman of Sharjah Executive Council, inaugurated the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports (IWAS) World Games in Sharjah on Tuesday at Sharjah Municipality headquarters.
The event is being held under the patronage of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah.
The opening ceremony was attended by Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Higher Organising Committee of IWAS World Games Sharjah 2019; Sheikh Saqr bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Chairman of Sharjah Sports Council; Salem Ali Al Muhairi, Chairman of Sharjah Municipal Council; Major General Saif Al Zari Al Shamsi, Commander-in-Chief of Sharjah Police; members of the Higher Organising Committee of IWAS; and a host of state officials, sports figures and media personalities.
In his welcome address Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, said, "With the support and guidance of His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, who is the strongest advocate of the differently abled, Sharjah has achieved a lot in supporting people with disabilities, granting them their full rights of social integration, empowerment and capacity building."
He emphasised, "Hosting the IWAS World Games for the second times is concrete evidence that the emirate offers a highly-sophisticated inclusive infrastructure and state-of-the art facilities required for a global sports championship like this one."
Rudi Van Den Abbeele, President of the IWAS Federation, commended Sharjah’s preparations in hosting the IWAS World Games 2019, once again after 2011. "We have been provided with three top-quality venues, some of which have already begun to stage competitions. I would like to recognise everyone at the Al Thiqah Club for the Disabled, the American University Sharjah and the Al Dhaid Sports Club for their warmth and energy in preparing the venues. All of this would not be possible without the support of our local partners here in Sharjah," he said.
He added, "More than 500 athletes from 50 countries have gathered in the United Arab Emirates for our biggest competition. Some of you will be on your road to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games or here to compete on an international stage, and others will just be starting out on your careers. The IWAS World Games is intended to be an exciting mix of these journeys, designed to challenge and help drive athletes forward in their careers."
Attendees witnessed a spectacular light show on the facade of Sharjah municipality that portrayed the journey of the UAE and the achievements of Sharjah in the fields of history, culture education, social and sports.
During the ceremony, an operetta titled ‘Al Thiqa’ was presented in celebration of Sharjah’s international reputation and the Ruler of Sharjah’s committed support to ensuring that differently-abled persons are active contributing members of society. This is reflected by the emirate’s ideal environment boasting a sophisticated infrastructure sensitive and responsive to their needs. The operetta included two plays titled ‘Home of happiness’ and ‘This is Sharjah,’ developed and supervised by Ahmed Salem Al Madhloum, Executive Director of IWAS World Games Sharjah 2019.