Four of the UAE Special Olympics Golf team were invited to an exclusive skills clinic with Major winner and 2020 Ryder Cup Europe Captain Pádraig Harrington, in line with the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship at Yas Links.
The course was attended by His Excellency Talal Al Hashemi, National Director of the UAE Special Olympics Foundation, as Ali bin Sumadiaa, Saif Al Qubaisi, Vincent Baur and Gabby Snowden flew the flag for the UAE Special Olympics team taking on Harrington in a three-part challenge – closest to the pin, closest putt and bunker challenge – and after a nail-biting finish the Special Olympics team were triumphant after winning two out of the three tasks.
The highlight of the day came in the bunker challenge, where Harrington’s commended one of the team’s bunker techniques as better than some of the pros.
Earlier in the day, UAE Special Olympics golfer Ali bin Sumadiaa partnered with Harrington in the Pro-Am Tournament – the traditional curtain raiser to the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship – which each year gives a cluster of amateur golfers the opportunity to play alongside some of the biggest names in golf.
The 17-year-old Emirati began playing golf three years ago, yet just two months after taking up the sport, went on to represent the United Arab Emirates in the Special Olympics hosted in Abu Dhabi in 2019.
Harrington has had a long affiliation with the Special Olympics and had been a Global Ambassador for the organisation since 2010.
After the clinic, Harrington added: “Whenever I do anything with the Special Olympics, I gain a lot from it. The athletes’ enthusiasm and outlook is such a positive thing to be around and it’s always nice to take part, but the response you get from the athletes is even better than that. Everyone who got involved in the Special Olympics today, can play and hit shots, but ultimately, they love what they do, which is a reminder to us all that it is just a game after all.
“DP World has done an exceptional job over the years in advocating for inclusivity within the sport – they want to give back and give all the opportunity to compete in golf regardless of ability and circumstances.”
Get your free general admission tickets for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship at Ticketmaster.ae, with additional hospitality packages available to purchase.