Liberia’s representatives to the 2019 Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, have qualified from the preliminaries to be next stage of the competition.
The Special Olympic World Games is a multi-sport event for athletes with intellectual disabilities in the tradition of the Special Olympics movement.
Athlete Hassatou Odell Duah, 16, finished second place in her preliminary qualification race on Tuesday, March 12, in the 200m race, while Ehiabom Assaf, 20, and Samuel Smith, 31, secured the first spot in their respective preliminary qualifications.
The three Liberian Special Olympics athletes are expected to return to the track on Monday, March 18, 2019. Ehiabom Assaf will compete in both 100M & 200M heat, Hassatou Odell Dual in the 100M heat, while Samuel Smith will also participate in the 100M heat.
All three athletes along with other members of the Liberian delegation comprising coaches, officials and Maureen Devereux, who recommended Liberia for the competition, on Thursday, March 14, participated in the opening ceremony through parade held at Zayed Sports City stadium, Abu Dhabi.
Maureen Devereux is the Mother of Sean Devereux who worked in Liberia with the Catholic schools and later got killed in Somalia working for the UN.
The World Games was officially declared opened by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.
“Today, with your presence and participation, we send a message to the world that nothing is impossible when there is determination. Only a strong will can make a difference. A very warm greeting to all the people of determination for their strong will and determination to climb to the top. I also greet the athletes in the playground today for their bravery in representing their countries and for being a source of inspiration to everyone.”
The opening ceremony was climaxed with the lighting of the cauldron, completing the Flame of Hope torch run which began in Athens and has touched each Emirate across the UAE.
Over 7,500 athletes with intellectual disabilities, coaches and volunteers from over 194 countries are currently in Abu Dhabi to grace the occasion.