Hundreds of volunteers, athletes and residents came together to walk side by side with people of determination at Dubai’s Al Khawaneej Park on Tuesday.
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Leading from the front was Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Higher Committee for the Protection of the Rights of People of Determination.
Sheikh Mansoor said:
“Hosting the Special Olympics in the UAE reinforces the country’s role in promoting the values of tolerance and social cohesion and inclusion.Through sports, people of determination get the opportunity to unlock their full potential and raise awareness of their rights in their communities. Our nation has established its position as a global destination that can organise and host the largest sporting event for people of determination.”
Neelima, a teacher from Al Noor Training Centre for Children with Special Needs, was present with 10 determined ones from the institute. Calling the event “motivating”, she said:
“My students are all excited about sports and we came here to garner support for the athletes of the upcoming Special Olympics. It’s a great event to raise awareness of including determined ones in social events. Good weather, great crowd and a noble cause kept us all enthusiastic throughout the walk.”
Rashid, a Grade 12 student, came to the walk with 42 others from his school. “It was the first time we got a chance to interact with so many determined ones and it was truly amazing as they shared their stories. We shared some light moments with them and they expressed happiness about the fact that we were walking and supporting them.”
Jordanian national Sokiyna Aljawabrah, a Dubai resident for five years, was present with her 12-year-old daughter Imaan, who has Down’s Syndrome.
She said she felt blessed being in Dubai because of the support the city offers to the determined ones.
“It was wonderful to see a royal coming to support us and our children today. Seeing such a crowd to support the determined ones is such a great feeling.”
More than 7,000 athletes and 3,000 coaching staff representing 170 nations will be participating in 24 games during the Special Olympics from March 14 to 22.
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