The Special Olympics International Board of Directors has awarded the 2019 Games to Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) capital.
Insidethegames.biz, an online publication, on Friday said the unanimous decision was made at a meeting held in Washington D.C.
Timothy Shriver, Chairman of the Special Olympics, noted that scheduling the Games for Abu Dhabi was revolutionary for both the movement and the Middle East region.
“Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi is revolutionary for our movement and for the Middle East region.
“There’s no better or more profound location than Abu Dhabi to invite the world to come together in celebration of sport, in celebration of people of all kinds.
“And to demonstrate to the world that the lines of division can be erased.
“We are thrilled to be the first fully global multi-sport games of this size to be staged in the Middle East region,” Insidethegames.biz quoted Shriver as saying.
It said that an official date for the Abu Dhabi event was yet to be confirmed.
“The World Games happen every two years, with the next one due to take place in Austria in March 2017
“Where the baton for the Summer Games will be handed over to the UAE,’’ the portal added.
The first International Special Olympics Summer Games were held in Chicago, US in 1968 where 1,000 athletes from US and Canada competed in track and swimming events.
The name given to the Games was changed from International Special Olympics Summer and Winter Games to Special Olympics World Summer and Winter Games 15 years ago.
The most recent edition of the Games were held last year in Los Angeles where the American city played host to around 6,500 athletes from 177 countries.
Athletes that compete are adults and children with intellectual disabilities who are matched up in competitions according to their ability and age. (NAN)