ABU DHABI, 30th June, 2022 (WAM) -- Special Olympics UAE Athletes won 16 medals during their participation at the Special Olympics National Games Austria 2022, which was held in Burgenland from June 23-28, 2022.
Special Olympics UAE was invited to participate with six other countries, as part of the Building Bridges between UAE and Austria programme, launched in 2018.
Special Olympics UAE Athletes excelled in powerlifting, DanceSport, and table tennis, bringing back memories of their outstanding success at the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019. 11 Special Olympics UAE Athletes won 16 medals, including eight gold, two silver and six bronze in the National Games Austria 2022.
In powerlifting, Abdul Rahman Al Hosani won four gold medals and Mohammed Al Mazmi won two silvers, while Ibrahim Al Hammadi secured four bronze medals.
Khuloud Al Shehhi and Nadia Al Falasi each secured first place at their respective table tennis categories, and in the doubles competitions (males), Mohammad Al Mas and Qais Al Qubaisi also won first place. In the individual DanceSport competitions, Ahmad Al Jailani came first, and Ghanem Al Maamari came third.
Special Olympics National Games Austria 2022 gathered 1600 Athletes from seven countries: Germany, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Slovakia, and Hungary, in addition to Austria and the United Arab Emirates. Further to the sports where Special Olympics UAE Athletes participated, the Games included judo, swimming, tennis, bocce, golf, bowling, and football.
On this occasion, Sheikh Suhail bin Butti Al Maktoum, Executive Director of the Sports Development Sector at the General Sports Authority, said, "We are proud of the achievements of the Special Olympics UAE Athletes and their determination to win and raise their nation's flag in the regional and international competitions, which reflects the efforts of Special Olympics UAE and its partners from both government and sports sectors, who share the goal of empowering People of Determination and strengthening their sports performances."
"Participation in international tournaments is always a great opportunity for our Athletes. Through engagement with other Athletes from around the world, we instill a culture of participation and sportsmanship, which contributes to developing their self-confidence and enhances their chances of achieving their goals. Therefore, the General Sports Authority invites the sports sector to develop ways for collaboration and partnership to enhance the presence of UAE sports in the international arena, giving Emirati athletes the opportunity to compete in the best tournaments and events worldwide," he added.
Talal Al Hashemi, National Director of Special Olympics UAE, noted, "We are proud of the continuous achievements of the Special Olympics UAE Athletes internationally, after winning 16 medals in Malta, Special Olympics UAE Athletes went to win another 16 medals in Austria. Special Olympics UAE and Special Olympics Austria have enjoyed a strong relationship since the launch of the Building Bridges Programme between Abu Dhabi and Austria in 2018. The exceptional turnout of our Athletes in international participations reflects the support they have been receiving and their preparedness to represent the UAE internationally, where they also learn and experience different cultures. After Austria 2022, the Special Olympics UAE women's unified football team will head to Detroit, Michigan, next month to participate in the Special Olympics World Cup Detroit 2022."
The Building Bridges Between Abu Dhabi and Austria Programme launched in 2018, where a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Abu Dhabi and the Republic of Austria, strengthening the ties between both Special Olympics institutions. This included an exchange of visits that included trainings and cultural events that support People of Determination with Intellectual and Developmental disabilities as recent as last March, where a delegation from Special Olympics Austria visited the Emirati capital and took part in basketball matches, cultural dances, explored Qasr Al Hosn and Expo 2020 Dubai.
Special Olympics UAE's delegation comprised 19 members, including 12 athletes, four coaches and a medic from the National Ambulance to ensure Athletes' health and safety throughout their participations.