Special Olympics Flame of Hope arrives Wahat Al Karama ahead of event's grand opening


ABU DHABI, 13th March, 2019 (WAM) -- Wahat Al Karama, Abu Dhabi’s national and cultural landmark designed to commemorate the sacrifices and heroic deeds of UAE martyrs to defend their homeland and protect its achievements, welcomed the Special Olympics Flame of Hope, after touring all seven emirates for ten days from 4th to 13th March.

The Flame of Hope has now reached Abu Dhabi in preparation for the opening ceremony of the Special Olympics World Games 2019, which will be the world's largest unified and inclusive sporting event.

Organised by the Ministry of Interior in partnership with the Local Organising Committee of the World Games, the Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run saw the Flame of Hope burning bright in major landmarks and attractions across the emirates in support of inclusion and unity. A select group, called "Guardians of the Flame of Hope", carried the flame during its tour of various landmarks across the emirates, consisting of Special Olympics athletes and hundreds of police officers from around the world.

Arriving at the Abu Dhabi’s national and cultural landmark a day before the official opening of the games tomorrow, the Flame of Hope was received Sheikh Khalifa bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan, Executive Director of the Martyrs' Families' Affairs Office at the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince's Court, and several officials.

''It is a source of pride that the Flame of Hope reaches the UAE and the Middle East for the first time in the history of the international sporting event,'' said Sheikh Khalifa bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan, adding that the torch signifies a universal symbol for solidarity, respect, fraternity, courage, diversity and tolerance, which is being celebrated this year in the UAE.

The UAE will welcome more than 7,500 athletes from over 190 nations for Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 between 14th and 21st March. They will compete in 24 officially sanctioned Olympic-style sports in what will be the first World Games to be held in the Middle East.

The torch for the Special Olympics World Games, which was lit in Athens then transported to the UAE on 28th February, has visited more than 100 Emirati cultural and tourist attractions across the nation.

WAM/Tariq alfaham/Hassan Bashir