Special Olympics in Abu Dhabi Is a Hint of a Breakthrough

Tori Martin and Mubaraka Al Darmnaki grew up in different worlds, before coming face-to-face with each other. Tori, is from northern Virginia and learned to swim before she could start to walk. She began competing in events. Seven thousand miles away, in Abu Dhabi, Mubarak discovered his love for basketball and perfected his skills against players who were bigger, stronger and faster.

Tori and Mubarak both love sports; however, they are also limited by something else that crosses all cultures and borders. Well, they are among the 200 million people around the world who have an intellectual or developmental disability.

This week, both of them would be representing their respective countries at the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi. They will carry with them a hunger for admittance and dignity that burns within all people, a hunger that’s now on the global schedule, a plan that’s headed by people with intellectual infirmity that will profit everyone.

The Middle East has moved slowly behind the rest of the world in regarding the needs and potential of people such as Mubarak and Tori. However, the tide is turning. Cultural and social barriers are being conquered.

A meaningful example of advancement will start when over 7,500 athletes from over 190 nations, a record for Special Olympics will join Tori and Mubarak in the United Arab Emirates. The games in Abu Dhabi are the first World Games to be held in the region, and the greatest ever.

Since Abu Dhabi was declared as this year’s host city, Special Olympics and the UAE established an earnest goal: to welcome a delegation from every country on earth.

Nineteen of the nations competing in Abu Dhabi are sending their teams to the world games for the first time.

It is being hoped that the athletes are able to shine a light on the abilities, achievement and introductory power of people who have been demeaned around the world. It is being hoped that these games will flicker much-needed action to end the discrimination, abuse and neglect these athletes and millions of others face every day.