Dubai: Bob Beamon, the man who held the men’s long jump world record for 23 years, and American singer and song writer Nicole Scherzinger will be among the seven stars added to the growing roster of sports stars and celebrities who will be heading for the Special Olympics in Abu Dhabi.
Joining them for the March 14-21 event are sports stars Alain Bernard, Ibtihaj Muhammad and Hannah Teter. Former French swimmer and triple Olympic medallist Bernard will be engaging with special athletes for the first time at the Games after recently joining as an ambassador.
Muhammad has impressed in her sabre fencing career, which saw her win a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio for USA. She is also known for being the first Muslim American woman to wear a hijab while competing for the US in the Olympics while Global ambassador Teter has won multiple medals during her snowboarding career.
Panamanian signer Erika Ender, one of the top songwriters from Latin America who co-wrote worldwide hit ‘Despacito,’ will also join the line-up of celebrities in town.
Scherzinger has a personal connection with Special Olympics due to growing up closely with her aunt who has Down syndrome. Beamon, whose leap of 8.90 metres in 1968 was bettered by Mike Powell in 1991, has been heavily involved in promoting and supporting Special Olympics for several years. The latest announcement adds to the growing list of professional stars and widely-acclaimed personalities, including football legends Romario, Cafu, Didier Drogba, ex-NBA star Dikembe Mutombo, former Serbia volleyball player Vladimir Grbi, former figure skater Michelle Kwan and retired track speedskater Apolo Ohno who will be flying into Abu Dhabi.
The Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi will see more than 7,500 athletes from over 190 nations competing. Apart from the fact that this Games is being held in the Middle East for the first time, it will be the largest sports and humanitarian event of the year.