Major Belgian delegation at Special Olympics 2019
On 12 March 2019, the Special Olympics World Games got off to a start in Abu Dhabi. This sports competition gives athletes with a mental disability the chance to show their talent. Our small country has one of the largest delegations this year.
The Special Olympics is an international movement that offers sports to people with a mental disability. The aim is to improve the self-confidence, health and abilities of these people. The movement also creates more respect and appreciation for people with mental disabilities.
The World Summer Games, organised every four years by the Special Olympics, will take place this year in the United Arab Emirates. All 190 participating countries, 3,000 coaches, 20,000 volunteers and thousands of spectators will be welcomed at 11 sports sites across Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Belgium is well represented at the games, with one of the largest delegations. It consists of 29 coaches, 3 staff members, 64 athletes and their 16 unified partners. Both people with and without a mental disability will therefore enjoy sport together. The hope is that this will promote social inclusion.
According to Eddy Beckers, Head of Delegation, the Belgian athletes are already very excited: "Our athletes and unified partners are all incredibly proud to be part of the Belgian delegation and are eagerly counting down the days until we head off. They want to show the outside world what they are capable of".