JEDDAH A total of 85 male and female athletes will represent Saudi Arabia in the Berlin Special Olympics World Games.

Saudi Arabia participates with the largest Special Olympics delegation in the Berlin event. Thousands of athletes with intellectual disabilities compete together in 26 sports events in nine days of exciting and inspiring competitions by athletes and for athletes. The Saudi Special Olympics Federation announced the Kingdom’s participation in the Special Olympics World Games to be held in Berlin, Germany from 17 to 25 June 2023.

Saudi Arabia is participating with the largest Special Olympics delegation in the history of Saudi participation, which began in 1995 in New Haven, Connecticut, in the eighth World Games, with 18 players while there are 85 male and female players in the 16th session of the Berlin games. The rate of female representation in the delegation is 59 percent.

The 130-member Saudi delegation includes players and officials. Saudi Arabia’s participation will be for the first time in 15 Olympic sports events, including judo, equestrian, volleyball, handball, badminton, and beach volleyball.

Saudi female players are also participating for the first time in a number of sports events including swimming, football, weightlifting, and equestrian, The Saudi teams play unified sports, where Special Olympics players meet with partner players in one team in volleyball, bocce, basketball, table tennis, handball and badminton. The number of male/female partners is 19 partner players. Unified sports represent a global trend towards inclusion and inclusion through sport.

Dr. Maha bint Ahmed Al-Juffali, chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Saudi Special Olympics Federation, referred to the development witnessed by the sports sector in the Kingdom, which led to the development of sports for all segments of society, including athletes with intellectual disabilities.

She also commended the important roles played by the International Special Olympics, represented by the regional presidency of the Middle East and North Africa region, led by its President Eng. Ayman Abdel-Wahhab.

Dr. Maha affirmed the Kingdom’s entitlement to a larger and exceptional athletic representation for this edition of the World Games. She referred to the efforts of Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan, Saudi ambassador to the United States of America, who is also honorary president of the Saudi Special Olympics Federation.

Al-Juffali thanked the families of the Saudi Special Olympics players, while noting the increased awareness about the importance of fighting laziness and encouraging their children to go through new experiences and make friends inside and outside the stadium. She also highlighted commitment to the training sessions in the preparation camps that were held in four regions around the Kingdom.

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