Special Olympics Athlete Out to Shatter Stereotypes

Miriam on a white horse entering an arena area.

Mariam Adel Azzab, the 32-year-old was born in a challenging time for a child with Down Syndrome, it was a time of exclusion, judgment and negative perceptions. Her family beat the odds and put every effort into education & sports training; they worked hard to make sure she was included in society as much as possible.

She joined Special Olympics Egypt in 2001 at the age of 15 and has competed in many local, regional and world games in different sports (Athletics, Table Tennis and Equestrian) and has won multiple titles & dozens of medals.

In 2002, she represented Egypt in Special Olympics MENA regional games in Beirut and earned silver medal in Shot put, then she competed in 2003 Special Olympics World games in Ireland and got 2 gold and one silver medals in Athletics for the second year in a row and has proven herself as determined, courageous woman. In Egypt, she was making a name for herself by shattering stereotypes about the abilities of people with intellectual disability.

Afterwards, she decided that she wanted to pursue equestrian seriously, a sport she never imagined doing, She still remember her first memory of horseback ride, when she knew her deep passion for horseback riding. She was able to compete in 2014 Special Olympics 8th MENA games and earned a gold medal then participated in the 2015 Special Olympics World Games and got 1 silver and 1 bronze medals.

Through Special Olympics, Mariam has grown into a leader and spokesperson and now she’s currently working as an assistant teacher at a local non-profit organization. Additionally, she has partnered with a group of her friends with Down Syndrome and launched the Four Biscuits project, which is a small home-based bakery business, selling their wares at local markets and online. In the future, she hopes to expand the business into a bakery café.

With Special Olympics World Games fast approaching, she’s gearing up for the big Abu Dhabi 2019, as she hopes to add one more achievement to the list.