Lighting of Flame of Hope in Athens, Greece

Flame is bound for Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019.

Athens, Greece, 27 February, 2019—The Flame of Hope torch lighting ceremony of Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 took place today at the Zappeion Palace in Athens, Greece, the birthplace of the Olympics.

Special Olympics athletes who will participate at World Games were present at the ceremony. Dignitaries who attended the ceremony included, among others: President of Special Olympics Hellas Ambassador ad.h. Dionyssios Kodellas, Minister of National Defense Evangelos Apostolakis, Deputy Minister of Culture and Sports Giorgios Vassiliadis, Figure skating champion and member of the Board of Special Olympics International Michelle Kwan, President and Managing Director of Special Olympics MENA region Ayman Abdel Wahab, Managing Director of Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 Khalfan Al Mazrouei, President and Managing Director of Special Olympics Europe Eurasia region David Evangelista, Board member of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Georgios Agouridis and the Senior Advisor to the Board of Directors and Member of the Executive Management Team of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Ambassador ad.h. Vassilis Kaskarelis.

The Flame of Hope is set to make its journey to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE) where the upcoming Special Olympics World Games will take place 14 – 21 March. This will be the first time the Flame of Hope has come to the Middle East.

In line with Special Olympics tradition, members of the Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics—the Guardians of the Flame—will transport the Flame of Hope along the entire journey to Abu Dhabi.

When the flame arrives in the UAE, it will be carried throughout all seven emirates in the 10-day Law Enforcement Torch Run® Final Leg before concluding its journey at the Opening Ceremony of the World Games on 14 March.

Khalfan Al Mazrouei, Managing Director at Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019, said: “The Special Olympics Flame of Hope has become a globally-recognized symbol for inclusion, courage and diversity.

“The Special Olympics Flame of Hope has become a globally-recognized symbol for inclusion, courage and diversity. In two weeks’ time, when the World Games officially begin, we will celebrate determination at sports arenas and playing fields across the UAE. It is our hope that these World Games will create real long-term change and a future where every person is valued, accepted, and have the opportunity to achieve their full potential.”
Khalfan Al Mazrouei, Managing Director at Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019

Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 is the largest sports and social inclusion event in the world, this year featuring 7,500 athletes from more than 190 nations who will compete in 24 Olympic-style sports across nine venues in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

Media Registration

Media may apply for World Games credentialing here. The deadline for application is 1 March 2019.

Special Olympics World Games

Special Olympics World Games are the largest sports and social inclusion event on the planet—advancing a world of full inclusion for people with intellectual disabilities in sports, education, health and leadership. Bringing together thousands of Special Olympics athletes from across the globe, World Games take place every two years, alternating between Summer and Winter Games.

About Special Olympics

Special Olympics is a global inclusion movement using sport, health, education and leadership programs every day around the world to end discrimination against and empower people with intellectual disabilities. Founded in 1968, and celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year, the Special Olympics movement has grown to more than 6 million athletes and Unified Sports partners in more than 170 countries. With the support of more than 1 million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics delivers 32 Olympic-type sports and over 100,000 games and competitions throughout the year. Special Olympics is supported by individuals, foundations and partners, including Bank of America, the Christmas Records Trust, The Coca-Cola Company, ESPN, Essilor Vision Foundation, the Golisano Foundation, the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics, Lions ClubsInternational Foundation, Microsoft, Safilo Group, Stavros Niarchos Foundation, TOYOTA, United Airlines, and The Walt Disney Company. Click here for a full list of partners. Engage with us on: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and our blog on Medium. Learn more at www.SpecialOlympics.org.

Media Contact

Mark Daley
Special Olympics International
P: (202) 824-0389
mjdaley@specialolympics.org