The 2019 Special Olympics World Summer Games is a multi-sport event for athletes with intellectual disabilities in the tradition of the Special Olympics movement. It was held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates and Dubai from March 14–21, 2019 with Monaco making a great showing.
The Monegasque athletes’ impressive results included a gold medal in doubles in the tennis – with the tennis duo from Monaco standing tall on the podium. Just as impressive as the medals were the participation and determination shown in events like cycling which took place interestingly on the Formula 1 circuit in Dubai – a memorable experience for the Monaco cyclists who have grown up surrounded by Formula 1.
Another great event in the special Olympics that also took place in Dubai alongside the athletics events is swimming. Monegasques were engaged in four of the swimming races including the 25 metres, the 50 metres, the 200 metres and the relay (4 x 25 metres). Four swimmers have successfully improved their times under the watchful eyes of their coach Maroun. So the swimming medal haul was also notable with one gold, five silver and one bronze. Coach Maroun praises his Monaco team for their dedication, motivation and hard work. The ability of each one to apply themselves and follow their personal strategic plan paid off. The hard work over, celebrations over the seven medals took priority.
In the range of athletic track events four more medals were added to the haul including a gold in the shot put and a bronze in the 100 metres. Even in adversity the Monegasques showed great fighting spirit. In the relay race Thibaud tripped up after a competitor ran too close, but the team hung in and finished; it was another proud moment.
Among the silver medalists in the shot put was a young lady, the Monegasque athlete “Khadija” who beamed while at the same time admitting that it had been a really tough competition this year. Also the young Monegasque athlete Ludovic: he too was overcome with emotion at winning his bronze; he had been determined to launch the shot putt further than ever – the result a medal around his neck on the podium. As for the gold medal in the shot putt, it went to a young man, the Monegasque athlete Thibaud who modestly credited the team spirit for his and the overall success of his team-mates. Two bronze medals for the young lady athlete Rabab who smiled into the cameras thanking her family for their support for her in her 100 metre and shot putt events.
The focus for the Special Olympics was the city of Dubai for the Monagasque athletes, particularly for the athletic events and swimming. Concurrently Abu Dhabi was busy sharing the total of the 24 Olympic events.
After their podium performances and spirited participation in the city of Dubai the whole Monegasque delegation including the athletes packed their bags to celebrate in the closing ceremonies which were held in Abu Dhabi . More proud moments for Monaco, this time demonstrating its prowess in swimming and athletics in two major cities the Middle East!