Photo: The PH Delegation
“Having the Special Olympics in the UAE is a symbiotic relationship with what the United Arab Emirates stands for”
ABU DHABI: The Philippine delegation for the Special Olympics IX MENA Games 2018 will be bringing home a total of 16 medals, after having competed against representatives from Hong Kong in the artistic gymnastics category.
H.E. Shamma Bint Sohail Al Mazrouei, UAE’s Minister of State for Youth Affairs, graced the event as she watched all competitors and said she was excited to have the Philippines participate in the Special Olympics MENA Games.
“Having the Special Olympics in the UAE is a symbiotic relationship with what the United Arab Emirates stands for – it’s a nation of unity and holistic inclusion where all of society can meet everyone’s needs.
“Special Olympics UAE has a vision to make sure that all athletes with intellectual disabilities have a space that’s unlimited for them to reach their full potential. We are blessed to be in a nation that focuses on all people of all abilities of all talents and we’re more excited to be collaborating with other nations like the Philippines and others.”
Jaechell Castillo, the youngest competitor, at 10 years of age in the entire Special Olympics, won three gold medals and a 4th place medal. Thirteen-year-old Jerwin Valdez, bagged three gold medals and a silver medal. Angelo Urbano will be bringing two silver and two bronze medals while Special Olympics veteran Angel Padilla will be bringing a gold and three silver medals.
The Philippine delegation to the Special Olympics 2018 was led by Kaye Samson, National Executive Director for Special Olympics Philippines and head of Delegation together with their coaches – Eu Ann Ordono and Obson Perez.
All male participants performed in the following fields: Floor Exercise Level 1, Parallel Bars Level 1, and Vaulting Level 1. All female participants performed in the following fields: Balance Beam Level 1, Floor Exercise Level 1, and Vaulting Level 1. Both males and females were also given medals for their all-around performance.
Ambassador Constancio R. Vingno cheered for the Philippine delegation. “It’s really welcome that our children with special needs are being given the opportunity to participate in activities like this where they are capable of showcasing their own abilities and talents. I’m really proud that they are here and they are able to communicate and interact with other nationalities as well,” he said.
Peter Wheeler, CEO of the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi this coming 2019, praised all participating athletes from all over the world: “I think the athletes show us how wonderful life is: They are shining examples of determination and achievement and it’s a celebration of the best in human spirit, the best in the human race.
“It makes us all better by following the model of our athletes – the love, the enthusiasm that they have for life. This is something that we all need. They are my role models and I think the Special Olympics provides the vehicle, through sports, to bring them out to demonstrate to the world what a real role model should be and that’s people with determination.”
Other participating countries include UAE, Russia, Syria, and Egypt.