Special Olympics United Arab Emirate’s Unified 3x3 Basketball team earned a place in the finals of The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) 3X3 Basketball tournament organized by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council on Hudayriyat MarVista on 22 October 2021. The Special Olympics United Arab Emirates Unified 3x3 Basketball team included Athletes Saeed Al Swaidi, Butti Al Sheezawi and their Unified Partner, Albert Zeinoun and Mohamed Soulaiman, from the JAM Sports Academy.
Special Olympics United Arab Emirate’s Unified 3x3 Basketball team won three matches out of four and was the only team with People of Determination with intellectual disabilities to compete in the tournament. The winning team at the final will earn a place in the FIBA Masters World Final Tournament to be held in Abu Dhabi on 29 October 2021.
Butti Al Sheezawi, a Special Olympics United Arab Emirates athlete from Al Ain Club for People of Determination and a member of the qualifying Unified Team said, "The vide is great at Al Hudayriyat and we are happy to be back playing sports in person. Our participation in the finals on October 22, 2021, is a great motivation for us and we will work hard to achieve the best results.
"Basketball is one of the important sports for Athletes in the Special Olympics UAE and we are preparing to participate in the Summer World Games in Berlin 2023."
Albert Zeinon, a Lebanese Basketball player with JAM Sports Academy and a Unified Partner said " This participation is my first with the Special Olympics UAE team and I am pleased with the spirit that brought together team members with and without intellectual disabilities together, to play as one team among many teams from different nationalities.
"Being at this event has a great positive impact on my personal career, as I learned a lot from being with my friends and colleagues who are People of Determination.
The 3x3 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 Special Olympics 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.