The Special Olympic World Games 2019 is well underway in Abu Dhabi. The momentous athletic event is being held in the UAE capital for the first time in its 50 year history and the week-long Games has welcomed over 2,800 determined women to take part. We've rounded up some of the biggest moments, from the broken records to the unbelievable guests...
1. Ibtihaj Muhammad supporting the Games
The first American athlete to wear a hijab at the Olympics (and go gold!), Ibtihaj Muhammad, showed up in Abu Dhabi to support the Games.
In a post from Dale Moss, the NFL football star and Global Ambassador for the Games, Ibtihaj and a crew of competitors take a selfie showcasing their medals.
2. Manali Manoj Shelke lifting spirits as well as weights
Special Olympics athlete Manali Manoj Shelke is shown on Instagram, as posted by ESPN, showing us what true determination and perseverance really mean at the Games.
3. Avril Lavigne's opening ceremony performance
The Canadian pop-star kicked off the Games as the opening ceremony performer, alongside Puerto Rican singer Luis Fonsi and other singers.
3. Abu Dhabi's permanent reminder of the Games
Art installations can now be found around Abu Dhabi to commemorate the World Games forever. Commissioned by Abu Dhabi Art, with a message for an everlasting "legacy of inclusion", the six sculptures will live on in the new Special Olympics Garden.
Courtesy / AbuDhabi2019.org
One of the 6 Art Sculptures in the Special Olympics Garden
4. Regional women just can't stop winning
On the second day of the Olympic World Games, the UAE Women's Basketball team triumphed against their opponents to win two gold medals, with the division 1 team beating Pakistan and the division 3 team reigning champions over Egypt. Emirati sprinter Hamda Al Hosani also smoked the 200-metre sprint, taking home the gold. Here's to all the Middle Eastern women going gold!
Courtesy / AbuDhabi2019.org
The UAE Women's Basketball team competing at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC)
5. Yuliana Mora proving there's no room for excuses
From learning her skills in crocodile-infested waters to taking on the Special Olympics, 15-year-old Yuliana Mora taught us all a little about perseverance as she swam for gold in the 400m race on Saturday.
#MeetTheDetermined: 15-year-old @specialolympics athlete, Yuliana Mora, from @oe_cr went from learning how to swim in a river filled with crocodiles to winning GOLDin the 400m swimming competition at @hamdansc at @worldgamesAD. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #Determination #AbuDhabi2019 #BeUnified #WorldGamesAD #PeopleOfDetermination #Inclusive #InAbuDhabi #Dubai #UAE #InnovateForInclusion #SpecialOlympics #ها_هم_أصحاب_الهمم: السباحة يوليانا مورا ذات الـ 15 ربيعاً هي من رياضي الأولمبياد الخاص في كوستاريكا، تعلمت السباحة في نهر مليء بالتماسيح، وهاهي اليوم تنجح في الفوز بالميدالية الذهبية لسباق 400 متر في منافسات الأولمبياد الخاص الألعاب العالمية أبوظبي 2019 التي احتضنها مجمع حمدان الرياضي. #أصحاب_الهمم #أبوظبي2019 #كلنا_معا #التضامن #في_أبوظبي #دبي #الإمارات #الأولمبياد_الخاص
6. The Human's Of New York Instagram tribute to 'Asma'
Making it onto the Humans Of New York Instagram account, the athlete known only as 'Asma' is pictured at the World Games Abu Dhabi and gives us an insight into her world. As she hid from the world for 6 years writing stories, Asma talks of the expressionism of art and how the encouragement from her sister aided her in dealing with the bereavement of her father.
The Games are being held until March 21st, you can find the schedule here.
Press play to watch In Conversation With Zahra Lari, The UAE's First Female Figure Skater