555 International Athletes Raise IWAS World Games Banner in Sharjah

  •  Opening ceremony witnessed by important figures in local and international sports
  • Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi: Our heroes will all achieve excellent results
  • Mr Rudi Van Den Abbeele: Sharjah has offered a fantastic setting for the most prestigious competition on the IWAS Federation calendar
  • Dr Tariq Sultan bin Khadem: Those who have determination never see defeat; success is the outcome of persistence

Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Higher Organising Committee of the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) World Games Sharjah 2019, witnessed the banner of the eighth edition of the games being raised yesterday (Sunday) at the Al Thiqa Club for the Handicapped in Sharjah.

This marks the inaugural of the IWAS World Games, Sharjah 2019 – one of the world’s leading Paralympic multi-sports events, which begins today with contests in seven disciplines that has brought together 1,462 participants from 50 countries, including 555 international female and male athletes. These contestants will compete at three competition venues in Sharjah, until Saturday, February 16, when the games will conclude.

Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi stressed Sharjah’s instrumental role in the advocacy for and the support to all differently-abled people in all fields, particularly in sports. He pointed out that hosting IWAS World Games in Sharjah for the second time emphasises its prestigious stature as a global platform for all athletes and reflects its capacity to organise and host this type of international events.

Chairman of the Higher Organising Committee of IWAS World Games 2019, added: “A championship of such high international calibre is expected to see tough competition, and offers local and international participants the opportunity to set new records and further their achievements. Differently-abled athletes have always honoured in our country. We are sure our heroes will achieve excellent results in this competition.”

Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi thanked Mr Rudi Van Den Abbeele, President of the IWAS Federation for his great efforts in establishing the games and offering disabled athletes compete on a global platform, and appreciated everyone’s efforts aimed at ensuring the success of the event.

For his part, Mr Rudi Van Den Abbeele, President of the IWAS Federation, said: “The IWAS Federation is delighted to be in Sharjah once again for the 2019 edition of the IWAS World Games. More than 500 athletes from 50 countries are already in Sharjah eager to compete and claim titles. This edition will mark the international debuts of many athletes, while for others it will be another important milestone on their journey to be qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. The beauty of the IWAS World Games is that it is a melting pot of new and experienced talents that pushes everyone to compete and perform to the best of their abilities.”

He added: “Sharjah has offered a fantastic setting for the most prestigious competition on our calendar. I would like to thank His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council Ruler of Sharjah, as well as Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Higher Organising Committee, IWAS World Games 2019, and HE Dr Tariq Sultan bin Khadem, Vice Chairman of the Higher Organising Committee, and all other stakeholders, partners and sponsors for welcoming us and providing such wonderful venues and facilities. I am sure we will leave here with memories that will last for years to come.”

HE Dr Tariq Sultan bin Khadem, said: “Today, we have witnessed the banner of a one-of-its-kind championship raised by Sharjah. We look forward to seeing excellent levels of competitions that fulfil our aspiration and reflect the capabilities of all differently-abled athletes who came from around the world. Those who have determination never see defeat; success is the outcome of persistence.”

He added: “We are blessed with the generous patronage and continuous support of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, to all members of the community. Sharjah today has the infrastructure of an ‘Accessible City for the Physically Disabled’, and subsequently is amply able to host global sporting events.”

The banner-raising ceremony was attended by Eissa Hilal Al Hizami, Secretary General of Sharjah Sports Council (SMC); IWAS Higher Organising Committee Heads and Members; IWAS Federation representatives; sportspersons and delegation heads, among others. The ceremony saw performances by the Sharjah Police Academy band, and Sharjah Scout Group.

On Monday, 11 February, Shooting competitions will be held at Al Dhaid Shooting Club until February 13. Fencing competitions will be held at Al Thiqa Club for the Handicapped, starting today and ending on February 16. Badminton, Swimming and Table Tennis competitions will be held at the American University of Sharjah (AUS) from February 13-16, while Archery and Athletics competitions will be held at Al Thiqa Club.

The event is sponsored by strategic partners; Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA); Sharjah International Airport; in addition to Media sponsor Sharjah Broadcasting Authority. Gold sponsors include Sharjah International Airport Free Zone (SAIF) Zone; Tilal Properties; and Sharjah Islamic Bank (SIB). Other sponsors comprise Directorate of Public Works; Al-Dhaid Cultural Sports Club; Sharjah Medical District; American University of Sharjah (AUS); and Sharjah Police General Directorate.

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