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Special Olympics UAE launches First Unified Basketball Tournament

Special Olympics UAE launched its first 3×3 basketball tournament today, in collaboration with Jam Sports Academy, as part of its efforts to train and prepare Athletes for the Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023.

The tournament commenced today at Zayed Higher Organisation for People of Determination in Abu Dhabi and will move to Khorfakkan on September 18 and the final stop will be held on September 25 in Dubai.

Approximately 100 male and female Athletes and 25 coaches from different clubs and centers for People of Determination with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities from across the UAE will participate in the tournament. Furthermore, the Healthy Athletes Program’s Clinical Directors will give Athletes free dental health screenings throughout the tournament.

Talal Al Hashemi, National Director of Special Olympics UAE, said: “This tournament is a great opportunity for Athletes to train together and develop their skills. We are delighted to see the enthusiasm and motivation of Athletes, coaches, and support staff to return to the courts and participate in games with their peers, while we take all the necessary precautionary measures against COVID-19 to ensure everyone’s safety. We thank Jam Sports Academy for providing technical and organizational support to ensure the success of the tournament as we witness today and Zayed Higher Organization for People of Determination for hosting it.”

Ahmed Sleiman, CEO of Jam Sports Academy, said “We are very excited about this strategic partnership with Special Olympics UAE to gradually return the Athletes to regular participation in sport. Jams Sports Academy will continue to work with Special Olympics UAE on multiple upcoming programs to continue to develop the Athletes’ abilities to compete in regional and international competitions. We are thrilled to see Special Olympics UAE Athletes’ positive and eager participation in this basketball tournament, and look forward to offering handball, table tennis and tennis programs soon. Jam Sports Academy is committed to supporting and providing sports activities for People of Determination with Intellectual Disabilities to further inspire and empower them.”

The 3×3 Basketball sport became an Olympic discipline in 2017 and is played with a half-court with three-a-side players, as opposed to five players in traditional basketball, with one substitute player for each team, in line with Special Olympics International Rules.

The Summer World Games Berlin 2023 will be hosted by Germany for the very first time, and will be held from June 17 to June 24, 2023, where thousands of People of Determination with Intellectual Disabilities will gather from around the world to participate in 26 Unified sports and activities.

To ensure the safety of Special Olympics Athletes and all parties involved, the World Winter Games Kazan 2022 was postponed to January 2023, due to the increase in COVID-19 cases caused by the spread of the Delta variant in many countries around the world. The World Winter Games in 2023 will see 2,000 Athletes and sports partners from 108 countries and 3,000 volunteers gather from around the world emphasizing the values of acceptance and inclusion through sports.

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