Man on Ski Board on Snow Field. Representational Image.
Man on Ski Board on Snow Field. Representational Image. Paweł Fijałkowski/

Special Olympics UAE and Majid Al Futtaim Entertainment have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to support athletes with intellectual and developmental disabilities to prepare for the 2025 Special Olympics Winter Games in Italy.

The collaboration brings snow sports to Special Olympics athletes through Majid Al Futtaim's indoor resorts: Ski Dubai and Snow Abu Dhabi. Ski Dubai's skilled instructors will offer training in cross-country skiing, ice skating, and snowboarding.

Under the MoU, bi-weekly training will be offered under a four-stage training plan. It includes talent identification, team building, skill development, performance monitoring, in addition to competitive readiness for Special Olympics UAE events.

National Director of Special Olympics UAE, Talal Al Hashemi, expressed his excitement regarding the partnership and said, "Special Olympics UAE is keen to forge community partnerships that have a positive impact on our athletes," WAM reported.

He noted that the MoU will "enhance the capabilities of People of Determination in four of the most important kinds of winter sports," adding that it will also "promote these sports in the UAE Special Olympics community by allowing players to train in world-class facilities in preparation for their participation in the World Winter Games that will be held in Italy next year."

On the other hand, Special Olympics UAE will train employees and members of Majid Al Futtaim to interact with People of Determination effectively.

Al Hashemi emphasized that this partnership will help in "implementing the national policy to empower People of Determination, achieve societal inclusion, and develop their abilities in various sports, solidifying the UAE's global leadership in this important domain."

Majid Al Futtaim Entertainment's Chief Executive Officer Ignace Lahoud highlighted the importance of sports, noting that it has the transformative power to break barriers, bring people together and make a social change.

"We will work side by side with the UAE Special Olympics to prepare the national team representing the UAE at the Special Olympics World Winter Games next year by providing technical and logistical support and providing expertise, training facilities, and the necessary specialist resources and tools," he added.