The UAE delegation scored 16 medals in gold, silver, and bronze. It was their largest win since World Games Abu Dhabi 2019. Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: Special Olympics UAE Athletes achieved 16 medals in gold, silver and bronze at the Special Olympics Invitational Games Malta 2022, the UAE’s first international participation at a Special Olympics Games since the COVID-19 pandemic.

The UAE was the only Arab delegation at the Games and the second from outside Europe out of a total of 23 participating countries. The Athletes competed in aquatics, bocce and bowling and won a total 16 medals, of which six were gold, eight were silver and two bronze.

Two gold medals

Decorated Special Olympics UAE swimmer Omar Al Shami achieved first place in the 50-meter freestyle and breaststroke securing two gold medals. Awadh Al Ketbi won silver in the 50-meter backstroke and 50-meter freestyle competitions. Mohammed Al Zubaidi won silver in the 50-meter butterfly stroke, and bronze in the 50-meter freestyle event.

Athletes Faisal Al Marzouqi, Shaima Al Naqbi and Hamda Murad each won gold in the singles bocce competition. Abdulaziz Al Gharib achieved bronze in the individual bocce competitions. In the male doubles competition, Abdulaziz Al Gharib and Faisal Al Marzouqi won silver. Hamda Murad and Shaima Al Naqbi won silver in the female doubles bocce competition.

Bowling team

In bowling, Athletes participated in unified teams with Unified Partners, Reem Jamal and Abdullah Al Jaidi, members of the UAE national bowling team, as well as in individual categories. Mariam Al Hosani won silver in the singles bowling category and Saleh Al Marri came in fourth place in the singles bowling category. The unified women team, Mariam Al Hosani and Reem Jamal, won the gold medal in the unified women doubles category, and the unified male team, Saleh Al Marri and Abdullah Al Jaidi, won silver in the unified men doubles category.

The delegation’s participation at the Malta Games 2022 was sponsored by Aldar Properties, and the Integrated Transport Center – Abu Dhabi provided transportation support for the Athletes during their training camps in Abu Dhabi. Prior to the Games, Special Olympics UAE held local qualifying competitions between People of Determination clubs to join the Malta 2022 delegation.