The Host Cities Programme for the visiting foreign delegations for the Special Olympics IX MENA Games concluded with a gala closing ceremony at the Al Qattara Market in Al Ain on Wednesday, March 14.
Sheikh Khalifa bin Tahnoon bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, Director of the Martyrs' Families Affairs Office, hosted the delegations from Canada and Ivory Coast at the end of the three-day programme at the Diwan of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi.
The closing ceremony was attended by the delegates from Canada and Ivory Coast and representatives from the Committee for the Management of Festivals, Culture and Heritage Programmes, Zayed Higher Foundation for Humanitarian Care and Family Development, the Department of Tourism and Culture, Al Ain City Municipality, General Secretariat of the Executive Council.
The host cities programme included visits to the Al Ain Palace Museum, the home of the late founder of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
The palace was renovated in 1998 and converted to a museum in 2001. The delegations were received by HE Dr Fahd Matar Al Nayadi, member of the Supreme Committee for hosting the Special Olympics, Director General of the General Secretariat of the Executive Council of Abu Dhabi, and representatives from the Department of Tourism and Culture.
The delegations from Canada and Ivory Coast visited Al Ain Club for the Disabled. A friendly basketball game was organised with the participation of all.
The club was founded in 1997 and incorporated by Zayed Foundation for Humanitarian Care and Special Needs in 2004.
The delegation headed to the Al Jahili Park, one of the landmarks of Al Ain City with its beautiful gardens. The UAE national football team players from Al Ain Club Mohammed Abdulrahman and Khalid Issa joined the delegation at the park.
The delegation made a final stop at the Al Qattara Market where the programme for the closing ceremony was staged.
The market place dates back to the middle of the twentieth century, and was founded by the late Sheikh Shakhboot bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
It is worth mentioning that the Host Cities Program is one of the most important programs implemented by the Committee of the Community and the World Games Legacy of the Supreme Committee to host the Special Olympics in Abu Dhabi under the supervision of the Ministry of Community Development and in partnership with the executive boards of local governments in all emirates of the UAE.
The program is also an essential component of the activities of the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi in 2019. It helps to promote cultural exchanges between the UAE and countries represented by the participating delegations. It also contributes to enhancing public awareness of the importance of these games for stakeholders with intellectual disabilities. Achieving the vision of the UAE to integrate stakeholders in society.