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Official send-off of the Special Olympics South African team

12 March 2019

The embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Pretoria has put its full weight behind the Special Olympics South Africa team which culminated in a final send-off of team South Africa in an event held at Park Town Boy’s High school in Johannesburg on March 7 2019.

Photo: HE Mahash Alhameli, Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates with the team

The South African Special Olympics World Games delegation was treated to a luncheon sponsored by the embassy of the UAE. The luncheon is the last of three events co-hosted by the embassy in honor of team South Africa’s journey to the UAE. For the first time, the Special Olympics World Games will be held in the Middle East, in Abu Dhabi, UAE from March 14 – March 21 2019.

On 30 January 2019, the embassy hosted a gala-dinner at the Sheraton Hotel in Pretoria where Chairperson of the Special Olympics South Africa, Dr. Matthews Phosa, highlighted the special relationship between the UAE and South Africa, and thanked the UAE for its warm reception of the South African team. The dinner was proceeded by a unified walk, which took place at the embassy of the UAE in Pretoria, by Special Olympic athletes, organisers, dignitaries and UAE embassy personnel. The embassy of the UAE has also pledged to sponsor five team South Africa athletes, bringing the embassy’s contribution to a total of over R450 000.
Speaking at the official send off, the Ambassador of the UAE to South Africa, HE Mahash Alhameli said the UAE is eagerly awaiting the arrival of the South African delegation and is looking forward to hosting team South Africa in Abu Dhabi for the 2019 Special Olympics World Games. “I am honoured to say that the UAE is the first ever country from the Middle East-North Africa region to host these games. We wish the entire team a memorable stay in Abu Dhabi” he said.
The Ambassador added that the 2019 World Games coincide with the UAE’s ‘The Year of Tolerance.’ “The UAE views sport as an important mission in our drive to create a more inclusive, open and tolerant society,” he added.
His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, proclaimed 2019 to be the ‘The Year of Tolerance’ in the UAE, highlighting the UAE as a global capital for tolerance, dialogue, coexistence and openness to different cultures, especially amongst youth, which will reflect positively on society as a whole.  Over 8000 athletes from more than 176 nations will attend the Games, a multi-sport event in 24 codes for athletes with intellectual disabilities in the tradition of the Special Olympics movement. This includes 11 new sub-Saharan African nations - Burundi, Cape Verde, Congo (Brazzaville), Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Madagascar, Mozambique, Niger, Chad and South Sudan.
Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in South Africa



October/November 2019











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