Athletics

Abu Dhabi rolls out red carpet

What an experience! The Indian table tennis team poses with cabin crew at the Special Olympics World Games.

What an experience! The Indian table tennis team poses with cabin crew at the Special Olympics World Games.  

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Athletes from nearly 200 countries arrive for World Games

‘Picture yourself onboard’, says an Etihad Airways banner inviting athletes for a photo at its stand at the ADNEC headquarters here.

And the Indian table tennis team girls were thrilled to pose for a picture, in their moment of glory.

There is another invite, ‘Snap your winning moment,’ this one from the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC). Not surprisingly, there is a big bunch of athletes there.

Abu Dhabi and the UAE have rolled out the red carpet for the 7500 athletes from nearly 200 countries who have arrived here for the 15th Special Olympics World Games which begins with a grand opening ceremony here on Thursday.

‘Meet the determined,’ is the catchy new slogan of the World Games here, a Games for people with intellectual disabilities.

“We look at the people of determination, as we call them in here, with admiration,” said Essa Buhumaid, the Minister of Community Development here, on Wednesday.

And the Emirates has put out its best foot forward to make the Games a grand party and among the expected guest are former long jump world record holder Bob Beamon and famed singers Nicole Scherzinger and Erika Ender.

India, with 284 athletes, is the second biggest contingent here. And everyone in the team had a happy face.

“The first Special Olympics World Games was held 50 years ago and now Abu Dhabi has set what could be the standard for the next 50 years,” said Ayman Abdel Wahab, the Regional President, Special Olympics.

The writer is in the Abu Dhabi on the invitation of the UAE Government.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 10:43:13 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/athletics/abu-dhabi-rolls-out-red-carpet/article26524596.ece

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