- Kingdom sends largest delegation ever
- Kingdom enjoys biggest and best medal tally ever
- Made possible by HRH Princess Sara Bint Mashhoor Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; March 21, 2019: Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 draws to an official end with the closing ceremony on March 21, and Saudi Arabia’s team is celebrating a successful week of inspiring sportsmanship before returning home to the Kingdom.
The presence of the largest team ever to represent Saudi Arabia was made possible by HRH Princess Sara Bint Mashhoor Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, wife of HRH the Crown Prince, who is championing the Saudi Arabia Special Olympics team as part of her wider philanthropic agenda.
“On behalf of our athletes, their families, and the entire Saudi Arabian delegation, we would like to thank Her Royal Highness Princess Sara Bint Mashhoor Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud,” said Dr. Heidi Alaudeen Alaskary, Assistant to the Head of the Saudi Arabian Delegation. “From the very start, Her Royal Highness has followed each member of the team on their journey. Through the challenges and triumphs, she has supported us every step of the way.”
The 50 athletes – 21 female and 29 male – participated across 10 sports throughout the Games, including basketball, bocce, athletics, powerlifting, roller skating, swimming, triathlon, table tennis, unified sports and bowling. They were accompanied by a delegation including representatives from Special Olympics Saudi Arabia Federation (SOSAF), coaches, and healthcare professionals, as well as their families and more than 200 volunteers from Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi Arabia team earned a total of 40 medals, including 18 gold, nine silver, and 13 bronze, which is the biggest and best medal tally ever enjoyed by Saudi Arabia. The team won seven golds, one silver, and three bronzes in athletics; one undefeated gold in women’s unified basketball; one silver in men’s unified basketball; three golds, three silvers, and four bronzes in bocce; one silver and one bronze in bowling; three golds, one silver, and one bronze in powerlifting; one gold in roller skating; two golds, one silver, and three bronzes in swimming; one gold and one silver in table tennis; and one bronze in triathlon.
Speaking on his gold medal wins, Hassan Alhadhariti, Saudi Arabia Special Olympics powerlifter, said: “To win a medal for my country is the best feeling. We have all been training hard to be the best we can be in our sports and winning three gold medals is one of the proudest moments of my life. I would like to thank the Special Olympics Saudi Arabia Federation, my family and my coach for all of the support they have given me.”
Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 saw more than 7,500 athletes from 192 nations compete in 24 sports from March 14-21.
Following the World Games 2019, SOSAF will continue to support Special Olympics athletes through a comprehensive ecosystem of programs, including athletics and physical activity coaching, healthcare, and more.
Special Olympics Saudi Arabia aims to recognise the athletic capability of all members of Saudi society, providing a platform of enablement and support for athletes with intellectual disabilities. It is responsible for bringing the entire universe of Special Olympics to Saudi Arabia, including sports participation, equity, healthcare, social inclusion, and more, with the ambition of creating a stronger future for the Kingdom in which all members can proudly participate.
Engage with Special Olympics Saudi Arabia team on Twitter and Instagram: @SaudiArabiaSO.