Mubadala, in partnership with the Local Organising Committee, LOC, of the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 and Al Jazira FC, celebrated the People of Determination during the Arabian Gulf League’s football match between Al Jazira FC and Al Wasl FC, at Abu Dhabi’s Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium on 5th November, 2018.
As part of a series of initiatives to support the empowerment of People of Determination and foster the ideals of acceptance and inclusion through sports, Mubadala invited 22 of the Special Olympics UAE team and their families to play a unique role during the match. Athletes were given the opportunity to engage with players in a meet and greet them before the game kicked-off, as well as walking the teams out to the pitch as escorts.
The UAE Special Olympics player, Omar Abdulkader Abdulla, also conducted the coin toss, while all the Special Olympics athletes took part in a penalty shoot-out with Al Jazira FC reserve goalie, Harith Salem during the half-time break in front of supporters.
Speaking about the initiative, Homaid Al Shimmari, Deputy Group CEO and Chief Corporate and Human Capital Officer of Mubadala, said, "We are proud to support the Special Olympics UAE team and offer such exciting opportunities to these inspiring athletes. Their perseverance, passion and dedication is remarkable and demonstrates to us all that nothing should stop people from being active and contributing to our community. Through this initiative, we hope we can continue to encourage acceptance as part of an inclusive society for people of all abilities."
Mohamed Saif Al Suwaidi, the board member of Al Jazira Club, the Chairman of Al Jazira Football Company said, "Al Jazira Football club is honoured to be able to provide such a wonderful opportunity for Special Olympics athletes to walk onto the pitch and to showcase their skills in front of our fans"
"Al Jazira has worked closely with Mubadala promoting the Special Olympics World Games 2019 and will continue to use our special relationship to support people with determination in our community," he added.
Khalfan Al Mazrouei, Managing Director of Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019, said, "This match served as a wonderful celebration of the spirit of unity, openness, inclusivity, community and mutual respect on which the legacy of the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 will be built.
"The 22 Special Olympics athletes and their families were warmly welcomed onto the pitch by the UAE’s footballing community in a truly inspiring display of friendship, humanitarianism and support, with the athletes themselves sending a powerful and dignified message to the UAE and the entire world that people of determination have an essential and valuable role to play in our society."
By capturing the attention and imagination of millions of people across the UAE, the region and around the world, the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi sends a powerful message of diversity, determination, inclusion, unity and pride. Through this initiative, Mubadala, the LOC of the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019, and Al Jazira FC are committed to delivering and amplifying that message through the power of sport.
Held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 will take place from 14th to 21st March with 7,000 athletes and 3,000 coaches representing more than 170 countries. The Games will see the biggest humanitarian sporting event in the world coming to the UAE, marking its first debut in the history of the Middle East and Northern Africa, MENA, region.