Special Olympics Arizona Sends Athletes, Partners and Coaches to Compete at 2019 World Games

Posted By on March 14, 2019
Arizona athletes headed to Dubai for the Special Olympics World Games (Photo courtesy of Special Olympics Arizona)

Special Olympics Arizona (SOAZ) is headed to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates to participate in the 2019 World Games as part of Team USA starting on March 14.

A co-ed basketball team and a swimmer were selected to represent Arizona to compete alongside 7,500 Special Olympics athletes from over 190 nations. The athletes will compete in 24 Olympic-style sports in nine venues across Dubai and Abu Dhabi in what will be the largest sports and humanitarian event of the year. 

“This is an incredible opportunity for Special Olympics Arizona and we are so proud of our athletes, partners and coaches,” said Jamie Heckerman, CEO of Special Olympics Arizona. “These athletes have worked tirelessly and have overcome numerous obstacles. We are overjoyed to have Special Olympics Arizona represented on an international stage in Abu Dhabi.” 

Held every two years, the World Games showcase the abilities of athletes with and without intellectual disabilities through world-class competition while bringing inclusivity to a wide variety of sports. Athletes will participate in a variety of sports including; basketball, bocce, bowling, cycling, golf, gymnastics, powerlifting, swimming, tennis, track and field, volleyball and more.

Special Olympics Arizona athletes will be representing the Valley of the Sun by competing in basketball and swimming. 

Team Arizona’s journey at the World Games begins with the Opening Ceremony on March 14, where they will march in the Parade of Athletes in front of 40,000 spectators at the Zayed Sport City Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

The World Games will be held from March 14-21. This year’s event recruited more than 20,000 volunteers and marks the first time the World Games are being held in the Middle East.


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