Abu Dhabi: The UAE Badminton Federation and Special Olympics UAE have won the Badminton World Federation (BWF) Member Association Awards 2022 in the inclusion category. Other finalists in the category included Switzerland, Norway, Peru and Uganda. The award recognizes the joint efforts to include People of Determination with intellectual (ID) and developmental disabilities (DD) in the sport of badminton across the UAE. The strategic partnership between the UAE Badminton Federation and the Special Olympics UAE has transformed badminton into one of the most successful inclusive sports experiences for People of Determination in the UAE. Overall, 245 Special Olympics UAE Athletes and 85 Unified Partners took part in the program.
The joint strategy between UAE Badminton Federation and Special Olympics UAE was launched in 2020, in line with the global joint strategy for the development of badminton, spearheaded by Special Olympics International and the Badminton World Federation. The partnership between regional, national, and international partners focuses on four main areas: development, events, partnerships, and communication. The UAE Badminton Federation also signed a pledge - the first of its kind - with the Special Olympics UAE, also in 2020, to prepare Athletes for the Special Olympics World Games Berlin 2023.
Last year, Special Olympics UAE organized three unified badminton tournaments in collaboration with the Badminton World Federation and the UAE Badminton Federation in Abu Dhabi, Ras Al Khaimah and Dubai, to encourage People of Determination with ID and DD to practice badminton. In addition, Special Olympics UAE, in cooperation with the UAE Badminton Federation, hosted several badminton activities during Expo 2020 Dubai, which saw record participation and positive engagement between Athletes and their Unified Partners.
Ghazi Al-Madani, member of the UAE Badminton Federation, Vice-Chairman of the Financial Committee of the Asian Badminton Federation, said: “We are delighted to have won the BWF International Award with Special Olympics UAE, in the inclusion category. This award is the culmination of the great joint efforts by the sports development committees of the Badminton World Federation, the UAE Badminton Federation and Special Olympics UAE to introduce badminton to the community and to include People of Determination in this sport. This award is a testament to the unwavering support from UAE and its wise leadership’s support to the development of different sports for People of Determination.”
Badminton is one of the most developed and widespread sports in Special Olympics communities, with more than 370,000 athletes currently playing the sport worldwide.